On October 26, 1984, Michael Jordan made his NBA debut for the Chicago Bulls. He scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. In total, MJ played in 179 games during his rookie season, and only one of those tickets was unused.
Now, 34 years later, that ticket has sold for a record price. According to ESPN, the ticket was bought by an anonymous bidder for $21,000. That’s more than 10 times the price of the average ticket from that game.
It’s clear that this ticket is a piece of sports history. And it’s no surprise that it sold for such a high price. After all, it’s the only unused ticket from Michael Jordan’s rookie season. If you’re a fan of MJ or the Chicago Bulls, this is a must-have item! But sports reporters have said that the only unused ticket from Michael Jordan’s debut is now off the market. Let’s see how this panned out for Mike Cole, the bidder and (previous) owner of the famed ticket.
Where is the Ticket Now?
For Mike Cole, the unused ticket from Michael Jordan’s 1984 NBA debut was a piece of sports memorabilia that he would have been happy to sell for $500. But thankfully for him, no one ever made him that lowball offer. Earlier this year, the ticket sold at auction for a record-breaking price of $23,000.
Cole had held on to the ticket since MJ’s rookie season, and said that he was glad to finally part with it. “It feels great,” Cole said of the sale. “It feels like I’ve finally released it.” The story of how a college admissions director obtained such a coveted piece of sports history begins a few weeks into Cole’s freshman year at Northwestern. A family friend who worked for the Washington Bullets surprised the Bethesda, Maryland, native with a pair of tickets to his hometown team’s season opener at the Chicago Bulls.
While Cole offered the second ticket to a few hallmates, none agreed to journey with him from Evanston to Chicago’s West Side. The Bulls weren’t much of a draw back then on the heels of three straight losing seasons. Nor was there much buzz preceding the debut of a rookie guard from North Carolina drafted after Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie.
And so, on Oct. 26, 1984, Cole traveled by himself by train to Chicago Stadium and picked up two tickets at the will-call window. One he used to get into the game and later discarded. The other sat in his shirt pocket that evening before finding a permanent home in a manila folder where he kept old tickets from memorable games he attended.
The previous record for an unused ticket from a Jordan game was $10,890, which was set in 2016. The new owner of Cole’s ticket plans to display it in a museum.
It’s interesting to think about what the ticket would be worth if it had been used. The game was played at the Chicago Stadium, and tickets for that venue are now selling for prices as high as $2,000 online. So it’s safe to say that the unused ticket from MJ’s debut is now worth quite a bit more than the $500 that Cole would have been happy to accept.
Whether you’re a fan of Michael Jordan or not, it’s hard not to be impressed by the record-breaking price that his debut ticket has sold for. It just goes to show how much demand there is for memorabilia from this iconic athlete. The record-setting ticket is just one more piece of memorabilia associated with Jordan’s illustrious career. There is sure to be more demand for such items as the NBA celebrates the anniversary of his debut.