Wilt Chamberlain’s 1972 Lakers Championship Jersey Heads to Auction – Robb Report

One of the most important jerseys in basketball history is up for grabs.

The uniform the late Wilt Chamberlain wore during the 1972 NBA Finals is now on display at Sotheby’s L.A. outpost. Nicknamed the “Championship Clinching” jersey, it is credited as the “most valuable item of Wilt Chamberlain sports memorabilia ever to appear on the market.” The auction house is offering the jersey in a single-lot, online auction titled “Dominance: Wilt Chamberlain & The First Los Angeles Lakers Championship” this month where it could fetch $4 million. 

The backside of Wilt Chamberlain's Championship Clinching jersey headed to auction.

The back of Chamberlain’s Championship Clinching jersey.


Chamberlain, a 13-time All-Star and four-time MVP, is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The seven-foot-tall player frequently inundated record books in his prime and still holds the record for most points scored in an NBA game (100 points on March 2, 1962). He was nursing a broken hand from a prior game during Game 5 of the finals on May 7 yet still took to the court, where he made 24 points and snagged 29 rebounds. The athlete later won the Finals MVP Award for his performance, closing out an exhilarating season.

The jersey headed to Sotheby’s is the first from Chamberlain’s two championships to ever appear at auction. He famously sported it—in signature yellow, purple, and white Lakers colors—on multiple covers of Sports Illustrated. These include the October 1972 issue, which bore the headline “It All Depends on Wilt”; and the May 1972 issue with a headline that reads “Los Angeles Champions at Last!” The jersey hasn’t been on public display in over 50 years since the finals.

Wilt Chamberlain playing in the 1972 NBA Finals at the Forum in Inglewood, CA.

The 13-time All-Star (pictured right) playing in the 1972 NBA Finals at the Forum in Inglewood, CA.

Photos courtesy of George Long/Sports Illustrated/Courtesy of Sotheby’s

“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,” says Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles in a statement. “We’re incredibly excited to offer one of the most elite sports artifacts ever to come to market, and to bring it back to its home city for a month-long display where it can be cherished by Lakers fans and basketball enthusiasts alike.”

Sotheby’s online auction of the jersey will open for bids from August 28 through September 27. In the meantime, you can view the sports relic in person at Sotheby’s Los Angeles from now until August 31. The sale follows the hotly-anticipated release of Goliath, a dedicated three-part docuseries that covers Chamberlain’s life and impact. If you can’t make it to the exhibition in person, it’s the perfect way to get a look at the jersey on offer, and you can stream the series now on Paramount+.

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