Jordan's NBA-leading 37.1 points per game this season was his personal career-best!
1986-87 Michael Jordan Game Worn Chicago Bulls
Uniform--Definitively Photo Matched to Five Games Including 56
Points vs. Philadelphia on 3/24 with Many More Probable
Matches! The Windy City held its breath as the 1984-85 Rookie
of the Year took the court again in the 1986 NBA Playoffs, the most
serious test yet of the foot bone snapped in just the third game of
the 1985-86 regular season. Jordan and the Bulls management had
been bickering for weeks over the proper management of the team's
most valuable asset, with Jordan anxious to return and the team
worried that a lack of caution might only make the situation worse.
The recent "The Last Dance" documentary reported that Jordan was
told there was a ten percent chance his career could be over if he
came back too early.
"Would you take a pill for a headache if nine out of ten times it would heal you, but one time it would kill you?," the trainers asked him. "Depends how &$#%ing bad the headache is!" was Jordan's reply.
But Jordan was magnificent as the Bulls fell to the eventual 1986 NBA Champion Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, scoring sixty-three points in Game Two, a postseason record that stands to this day. While the early playoff exit was a disappointment, Bulls fans looked anxiously forward to the 1986-87 season with a fully-healed Michael Jordan at the helm. They would not be disappointed.
As the most important rookie card of the past half-century rolled off the presses at Fleer, Michael Jordan posted the greatest statistical season of his career, becoming the only man other than Wilt Chamberlain to record 3,000 points in an NBA season. He'd average 37.1 points per game on 48.2% shooting, while becoming the first player in league history to notch 200 steals and 100 blocks in the same season. Many fans were outraged when the NBA MVP Award went to Magic Johnson instead.
Presented is the only jersey definitively photo matched to that season for the ages, and this isn't some delicate wallflower that saw only limited action. The experts at Resolution Photomatching declare five absolute matches - 11/4/86 vs. Spurs (34 points), 2/20/87 vs. Lakers (33 points), 2/28/87 vs. Bucks (37 points), 3/24/87 vs. 76ers (56 points) and 3/29/87 vs. Knicks (33 points). They list four other probable photo matches and suggest that there are likely even more. It is only the limited supply of photography with the sufficient clarity to provide for mesh hole pattern matching that stymied their efforts. It is somewhere between possible and likely that this is either the only home jersey Jordan wore in 1986-87, or one of two.
Of the definitive matches, Jordan's highlight came on March 24th against the Philadelphia 76ers. He recorded a staggering fifty-six points, eight steals, seven rebounds and three assists in the 93-91 victory. Tally all five games that Resolution has identified with full confidence, and you have 193 points, twenty-four steals, twenty-four rebounds and twenty-three assists. But, again, these figures are all but certain to represent just a fraction of the jersey's full stat line.
Another thrilling match appears on the cover of the famous November 17, 1986 "One Man Gang" issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, that shot deriving from the November 4th game vs. San Antonio that is affirmed by Resolution in their paperwork.
The classic, early Jordan format features screened identifiers announcing "Bulls 23" on chest and "Jordan 23" on verso. NBA logo emblem appears at upper left chest. Dual "Sand-Knit" tagging in the tail denotes Bulls exclusivity and size "44." A tailoring swatch indicating three extra inches of body length appears to the left.
Remarkably, a matching pair of shorts accompanies the jersey, it too matched definitively to game photography with the advisement from the experts that the pair of matches is almost certainly an under-representation of its full service. Jordan scored over thirty points in each victory--on November 4th against the Spurs and on November 8th against the Suns. Interior waistband holds matching dual "Sand-Knit" tagging of exclusivity and size (36), the latter bearing a handwritten "23" in sweat-blurred black marker. A tailoring swatch appears to the right.
Perhaps the most thrilling unsolved mystery of this uniform is its possible/likely participation in MJ's final regular season home game, a sixty-one-point master class on April 16, 1987 that carried him past the 3,000 mark to join Chamberlain during a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Five days later, our consignor received this jersey and shorts in the mail, still damp and deeply fragrant with sweat, as his letter of provenance attests. Note that the second-to-last home game was played April 12th.
Based on the year, player use, individual achievement, and extensive authentication, this is undoubtedly one of the most significant Jordan game used Bulls uniforms known to exist today. Two LOA's from Resolution Photomatching (jersey & shorts). LOA from Heritage Auctions. Letter of provenance from consignor.
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