The jacket that Michael Jordan famously and grudgingly wore while receiving an Olympic gold medal has been in Brian McIntyre’s possession for more than three decades now.
He figures the time is right to let someone else enjoy it.
The red, white and blue Reebok jacket that Jordan — a Nike athlete — was forced to wear on the medal stand alongside the other members of USA Basketball’s first “Dream Team” at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics is headed to auction. Sotheby’s, which has the offering that will run through June 28, estimates that the jacket could fetch anywhere from $1 million to $3 million.
“I’ve enjoyed it and it’s just the right time to do this,” McIntyre said. “And it’s easier to do this than it is to leave things for my kids.”
Jordan is aware of the decision to auction the jacket, McIntyre said.
McIntyre was with the Dream Team in Barcelona through his role with the NBA. He joined the league’s communications department in 1981 and stepped aside into an advisory role for then-Commissioner David Stern in 2010. Part of his job, outside of overseeing public relations at all the major NBA events, was to help at other major events with NBA players — including the world championships and the Olympics.
That’s why McIntyre was in Barcelona working with the players. The U.S. Olympic Committee had sent word that Jordan would have to wear the full athlete uniform on the medal stand, and Jordan complied — with one adjustment. For the ceremony where the Americans got their gold medals, he draped an American flag over his shoulder to hide the Reebok logo.
And when Jordan came off the medal stand, he took off the jacket and tossed it aside, then gifted it to McIntyre.
“He said, ‘I certainly don’t want it,’” McIntyre said.
So, McIntyre took it. He brought the jacket — which has a patch that reads “Reebok is proud to honor America’s finest” — to Jordan at an event when the NBA legend was shifting to baseball in 1994, thinking Jordan would ask for it back.
Instead, Jordan signed it: “To Brian, Thanks for Everything, Michael Jordan.”
McIntyre kept it the last 29 years, wearing it occasionally. The jacket and Jordan’s reluctance to wear it was a big story in Barcelona and became a talking point again when “The Last Dance” documentary re-told part of the story with sound from Jordan in 1992 revealing his frustration with the situation.
That said, anything involving that team, and those Olympics, has obvious historical value. It was the first time the NBA sent its players to an Olympics, and the game was forever changed.
“We watched the ‘Dream Team’ in the ’92 Olympics fast-forward the growth of basketball, by a lot,” McIntyre said. “I mean, it really helped develop the game worldwide — not just for the NBA, but in basketball in general.”
Sotheby’s is offering the auction online and will display the jacket in New York from June 24-28.
“To be able to sell this relic from such a historic world event — one that is often credited for multiplying the popularity and global reach of basketball — is both rare and unparalleled,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles. “And beyond its legendary place in Olympic history, the jacket represents Michael Jordan’s fierce and devoted loyalty to Nike, a transformative and revolutionary partnership between two powerhouses that has stood the test of time.”
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