S otheby’s is proud to present INVICTUS, a special two-part curated collection of some of the finest sports artifacts to come to market in recent years. Led by Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Game 1 jersey, the auctions feature a variety of athletes who have had a deep and lasting impact on their respective sports. From Michael Jordan to Roger Federer to Wayne Gretzky and Muhammad Ali, the auctions feature a host of items many of which are fresh to the market.
Wayne Gretzky Game Used Stick From Final Career Game
This stick has been traced back to Gretzky’s final NHL game and is accompanied by a certificate from Resolution Photomatching with a photomatch to Gretzky signing the stick.
Begin watching at 3:50 in the above video to see Gretzky signing the stick on offer.
Dubbed ‘The Great One’, Wayne Gretzky is widely regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time. With over 61 individual NHL records, Gretzky also has won 9 Hart Memorial Trophies and 4 Stanley Cup championships. The NHL’s all-time point leader, Wayne Gretzky is the only player in NHL history to have his number retired league-wide.
Truly dominant, Gretzky led the Edmonton Oilers to 4 Stanley Cup championships in 5 years (1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988). After the 1988 season, in what is considered one of the largest trades in sports history, Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. During his time with the Kings, Gretzky played an instrumental role in growing the game of hockey and is largely credited with the introduction of teams in atypical hockey regions.
On April 18th, 1999, Wayne Gretzky played the final game of his NHL career. In front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, the Great One recorded one final assist, the 2,857th point of his career. A taped message from Gordie Howe played pregame and post-game, Gretzky took laps around the ice, reminiscent of the ones he did after Stanley Cup wins in Edmonton.
In a telephone conversation with Resolution Photomatching, the company confirmed that this is the only stick they have ever photomatched to Gretzky’s final game. In email correspondence with The MeiGray Group, they confirmed they do not believe they have photomatched a stick from Gretzky’s final game.
Steve Prefontaine’s Personal and Worn Nike Oregon Waffle Sneakers
Steve Prefontaine, universally known as ‘Pre’, was a running prodigy.
Born in Coos Bay, Oregon in 1951, Pre developed his passion for running and his hunger to be the best in the world at Marshfield High School. During his senior year, he set a national record when he ran 2 miles in 8:41.5.
University of Oregon Track coach and Nike co-founder, Bill Bowerman, sent Pre a letter saying that he was certain he would become the world’s greatest distance runner if he decided to run at Oregon. Pre chose U of O.
In a short amount of time following his decision to run for Oregon, Steve would become a national sensation and inspiration to countless runners. In a tragedy that shocked the world, Pre died in an automobile accident at just 24 years old.
Steve Prefontaine was the first runner signed by Nike and jump-started the brand as a running shoe company. In addition to being paid to wear Nike shoes, Pre was also named Nike’s National Director of Public Affairs and frequently wrote letters and sent Nike shoes to up-and-coming runners. The brand holds Pre in the highest regard with Phil Knight even professing his spirit as the “cornerstone of this company’s soul”.
This pair of Oregon Waffle sneakers in a size 9.5 was worn and owned by Steve Prefontaine and include the original laces and original blue insoles. The sneaker is finished in a nylon upper in the University of Oregon’s signature yellow and green colorway.
These Oregon Waffles are the first pair of Pre’s shoes to ever be publicly sold, which is particularly notable considering the lasting impact he had on one of the most iconic sneaker companies in the world: Nike.
Dennis Rodman 1997 NBA Finals Championship Clinching Game Worn & Signed Jersey | Game 6
When Bear Bryant said the old football adage “Defense wins championships” he likely wasn’t expecting Dennis Rodman, an eccentric, 6-foot 7-inch basketball forward with a love for body modification, dyed hair, and himself (so much so that he publicly married himself) to be the perfect embodiment of the sentiment.
Rodman, a 5-time NBA champion, 7-time rebounding champion, and 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, was a true hustler. Aside from his astonishing rebounding numbers, it was Rodman’s effort towards and contribution to the aspects of the game not included on the stat sheet that earned him a spot in the NBA Hall of Fame in 2011 and the honor of Michael Jordan calling him “one of the smartest guys I played with.”
This jersey was worn by Dennis Rodman as the Bulls clinched their fifth NBA Championship during Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. Finals jerseys represent the apex of importance in athletes’ careers – with championship-clinching items the rarest of all – making this one of the most important Rodman jerseys to ever appear at market.
Muhammad Ali Worn Kufi | Worn Prior to The ‘Thrilla in Manila’ (1975)
The culmination of years of bitter rivalry, The Thrilla in Manila is considered to be one of the greatest and most brutal boxing matches in history. The third rematch between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the heavyweight title, the match served as the end-all-be-all in the boxing world, a final chance for the sport to name its greatest.
In 1964, then Cassius Clay, announced he had accepted the teachings of the Nation of Islam, and the name of Muhammad Ali. Citing religious beliefs, in 1967 Ali refused his draft status into the United States Army. The decision cost him his world heavyweight championship and his license to box. Upon his return to boxing in 1970, Joe Frazier emerged as the new world champion, sparking years of rivalry between the two men.
Ali and Frazier faced off for the third and final time in Manila. Days before the match, Muhammad Ali visited a mosque in Manila, where he was seen wearing the featured Kufi in late September 1975.
The match took place on October 1st, 1975, and resulted in a 14th-round technical knockout win for Ali.
Alex Rodriguez 2009 World Series Championship Clinching Game Worn and Signed Baseball Cap
2009 was a tumultuous year in Alex Rodriguez's career. In an interview with ESPN, A-Rod, with a shaky voice, issued an admission of guilt confirming that his name belonged on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in 2003. The tests, which were supposed to remain anonymous, were issued to determine whether regular drug tests were necessary for the league. A-Rod and many other of the league's top names tested positive.
The revelation threatened to taint his extraordinary career, as the 2001-2003 seasons were some of A-Rod’s strongest. He attributed the pressure of signing a major contract with Texas to his decision to use PEDs.
The 2009 playoffs, however, would prove to serve as a point of redemption. A-Rod, an infamously subpar playoff performer, put on a career-defining performance and ultimately won his first and only World Series title. Overcoming his reputation as a poor playoff performer, Rodriguez finished the postseason with a batting average of .365. He also tacked on 6 home runs and 18 RBIs.
This hat was worn by Alex Rodriguez when he clinched his only World Series championship during Game 6 of the 2009 World Series. Additionally, it was worn by A-Rod in nearly every World Series game in 2009 making it one of the finest sports artifacts from A-Rod’s storied career.