It’s the most desirable basketball autograph dead or alive. Sure, you could make the argument that the creator of the sport of basketball Dr. James Naismith might be worth a pretty penny (and it is) or legends that are no longer with us like Wilt Chamberlain might command a slight premium (and it does) simply because the supply isn’t there, but make no mistake about it, Michael Jordan is still the signature to have and probably always will be.

One could make the argument that autographs don’t mean as much as they used to in this day and age when getting selfies with a celebrity is probably more meaningful (and provide a “receipt” that yes, you did place your phone up in the air to snap an awkward photo with a famous person), but having that piece of history is still pretty cool especially if you can hang it up on a wall to display in your house. God knows I’m not printing and framing my picture with Zach Randolph where we both give the thumbs up inside the JW Marriott at LA Live. Yes, that actually happened and I think it was Kosta Koufus took the picture…

Anyways, getting that elusive Michael Jordan autograph, whether it’s on a trading card or a sneaker or a basketball, is the holy grail of basketball memorabilia collectors. Even though Jordan has signed his name millions of times at this point, the public still can’t get enough of his “M” followed by a few squiggly lines then a “J” followed by even more squiggly lines.

Nike
Nike

With the upcoming release of the Air Jordan XXX1 Fine Print celebrating MJ’s beginnings with Nike and the “Love Of The Game” clause on his contract, here’s a look at how Jordan’s signature has evolved through the years.

1Middle School (aka Keep It Simple)

2High School

Young MJ apparently wrote this long note to a high school friend named Todd Parker and he was in MJ’s words, “the toughest white boy in the state.” Yeah, MJ was already talking that smack at an early age.

3College

Michael Jordan autograph - UNC

You would think that it would be harder to sign on a basketball than on a program, but Jordan’s signature is way more readable on the ball. He also used to write “Best Wishes” on a lot of his older signatures, probably before he got hounded by kids and opportunistic resellers who wanted a piece of him.

4Rookie Year

Michael Jordan autograph - Rookie Year Michael Jordan autograph - Best Wishes

5The Famous Signed Nike Air Ship

6Signed Check From 1989

Not sure if I could cash a check from MJ that’s worth less than a thousand dollars and even then that would be tough…

7The 1990s MJ Signature

When Upper Deck started including signed trading cards of Jordan in their products, it changed the memorabilia game and it changed how MJ signed his stuff BECAUSE THERE WAS SO MANY TO SIGN.

8Inscribed Shoe

9The Famous Flu Game Shoes

10The Modern MJ Signature

Michael Jordan autograph - Dunk Champ

From “M” and “J” with squiggly lines to “M” and “J” and a line after each letter…