On October 26, 1984, Mike Cole purchased two tickets out of a will-call window in Chicago. Three decades later, one of those tickets was used to earn over $400,000 in an auction.
In a chat with Yahoo! Sports, Cole explain his story, and how one unused ticket from a Bulls game in the 80s ended up selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Cole had no inkling his ticket was valuable until late one mid-December night when he read a story about the stub from Jordan’s first NBA game that sold for a record-setting price. Hands trembling, he realized he had a full, unused ticket from the same game.
Over the next week, Cole emailed a few auction houses with his story and a photo of the ticket. More often than not, the Quinnipiac admissions director’s phone would ring within minutes.
Heritage Auctions put the ticket up for sale four weeks ago and accepted bids through early Sunday morning. Cole texted on Saturday night that it was “very exciting” refreshing the auction page and seeing the bids increase in $10,000 increments.
Cole owned the only known unused ticket from Michael Jordan's debut game, and it was sitting in his basement for years before he even realized it could be worth anything.
“I’m a huge sports fan, and I enjoy keeping tickets as memories of good times I’ve had,” Cole told Yahoo Sports earlier this month. “Before that night, if you’d have given me $500 for that ticket, I’d probably taken it. I wasn’t waiting for the right time to sell or to figure out if I had the only one. I just didn’t know this market for tickets existed.”
Back then, Jordan and the Bulls did not earn much attention. After three straight losing seasons, there wasn't much incentive to catch a game.
In his debut, Jordan showed that things were going to change. He dropped 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals in 40 minutes of action. Years later, he would cement himself as a truly elite player and lead the Bulls through an era of prosperity.
Even today, his legend continues to awe and inspire, which is why a ticket to his first game sold for nearly half a million.