A Filipino artist’s dream came true after his idol, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, signed his viral charcoal painting of the iconic “The Last Shot.”
Christian Oliver Talampas, a self-taught artist, shared his tribute to the legendary NBA star on TikTok in July last year. In his video, Talampas asked his more than 31,000 followers to help him get the attention of His Airness, Jordan.
“Hey, guys! I’m on a mission,” Talampas wrote in the video. “I made an artwork that took 72 days, 620 hours to make. Will you help me reach Michael Jordan? I [want] to show [arrow pointing to the painting on his right].”
The painting depicts the “Last Shot” moment that sealed Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals between the Bulls and Utah Jazz. With the Bulls leading 87-86, Jordan managed to land a 17-footer with just 5.2 seconds left on the clock. The game-winning jumpshot secured the Bull’s second three-peat (third consecutive title) and sixth NBA Championship trophy.
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It took months before Jordan took notice of the painting when Bryan Apodaca, an American collector, brought Talampas’ painting to the retired NBA legend’s attention by contacting his camp on the artist’s behalf.
Talampas was reportedly doubtful at first when Apodaca said he was willing to help him reach Jordan to give him his original masterpiece. He was only convinced after Apodaca shared a screengrab of a video in which he was filmed talking to Mike Smith, a friend of Jordan’s and a Nike designer. The artist didn’t hear word from either Jordan or Apodaca after sending his work back in October 2021 until one morning when he received a message from the collector saying the NBA icon loved his work and “wants to do something a little bit beyond,” Talampas recalled during an interview with retired ABS-CBN News anchor Julius Babao. “Michael Jordan asked for my original artwork because he liked it. I sent it at once,” Talampas told GMA News Online in Filipino.
After getting back his painting, Talampas was surprised to find that the player he admired since he was a child had signed his artwork and added other special items in his package, including a shirt and a playing card used by Jordan.
“It’s hard to believe,” he said. “I was expecting just a picture of him holding [the piece], but he gave me so much more. They said this will help my career as an artist.”
Talampas said he had originally started selling his work to make ends meet after losing a job as a delivery driver during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is unclear how much value his charcoal painting now has on the market, Jordan’s autograph undoubtedly raises its price.