Report: Wilt Chamberlain’s 1972 NBA Finals Game 5 jersey expected to sell for more than $4M

Brad Sullivan
4 Min Read

The game-worn jersey of Wilt Chamberlain for the Los Angeles Lakers’ title-clinching win in the 1972 NBA Finals is up for auction and reportedly expected to sell for over $4 million.

The Associated Press noted the upcoming auction, where online bids for the rare piece of basketball history will be taken from Aug. 28 to Sept. 27.

“Collectibles broker Sotheby’s expects Wilt Chamberlain’s 1972 NBA Finals jersey to sell for more than $4 million in an upcoming auction,” the Associated Press wrote.

“Sotheby’s calls the jersey Chamberlain wore in the championship-clinching Game 5 victory over the New York Knicks the most valuable piece of his memorabilia ever to appear on the market. The current record sale for a Chamberlain sports memorabilia item is $1.79 million in June 2023. It was for a jersey worn his rookie season with the Philadelphia Warriors.”

A Sotheby’s spokesman made sure to point out Chamberlain’s iconic stature in basketball history as well as the Lakers’ incredible legacy for the expected enthusiasm.

“This jersey holds an extraordinarily significant place in the history of Los Angeles, not only adorned by the man many consider to be the greatest player ever to step on the court, but as a relic from one of the greatest franchises in sports history,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles.

Chamberlain played in the NBA from 1959 to 1973 and with the Lakers for the final five years of his career. The 1971-72 title marked his second NBA championship, having won his only previous one as a major part of the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers.

Chamberlain’s championship teams established benchmarks in wins during the regular season. The 1966-67 Sixers finished 68-13, while the Lakers were 69-13, with the latter mark highlighted by a record-setting 33-game winning streak.

Among the other reasons why this particular jersey is expected to garner such interest is because it marked the Lakers’ first NBA championship since moving to Los Angeles in 1960. In the team’s 11 previous campaigns prior to the 1971-72 season, they reached the Finals seven times, only to lose each time.

Chamberlain’s performance in the 1972 NBA Finals earned him Finals MVP honors as he averaged 19.4 points, 23.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. In addition, he played virtually every minute of the five-game series against the Knicks, averaging 47.2 minutes per contest.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of that 1972 NBA Finals performance was that Chamberlain did all of it while dealing with a broken hand.

Long before Chamberlain played for the Lakers, he’d already established himself as a dominant player. During the 1961-62 season, he averaged 50.4 points per game, and on March 2, 1962, he scored 100 points in a single game.

In more than 60 years since that eye-popping performance, no player has managed to get near that 100-point total. The closest is another Lakers icon, Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 on Jan. 22, 2006.

Chamberlain died on October 12, 1999, at the age of 63. Despite the passage of time, it’s clear his memory still triggers plenty of emotions, especially among collectors of basketball memorabilia.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.