Michael Jordan’s sneakers worn in the 1998 NBA Finals go on sale and set to break auction records

Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

Back in 1998, Michael Jordan donned a pair of his iconic black and red Air Jordan 13s to earn a Bulls victory in Game 2 of his final NBA championship – and now the sneakers are on sale and set to break auction records.

Sotheby’s in New York will offer the winning sneakers next month, for a high estimate of $4 million, with an open auction taking place online from April 3-11. The current 2021 record – a pair of Nike Air Ships that Jordan wore early in his career – is $1.47 million, marking the first time a set of sneakers has been sold for more than one million dollars.

The sale comes during “Jordan Year” – a reference to the NBA star player’s iconic number 23 jersey. In January, Air Jordan teamed up with Sotheby’s to auction off 13 pairs of retro sneakers designed in memory of The Notorious BIG All lots exceeded their high estimates of $5,000 by multiples, with the highest sale at over $32,000.

Last year, Jordan’s Game 1 jersey, also from the 1998 final, became the most expensive worn sports memorabilia to be auctioned off when it fetched $10.1 million at a Sotheby’s sale. .

Michael Jordan’s black and red Air Jordan 13 sneakers worn in Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals (pictured) are going up for auction. Credit: Don Grayston/NBAE/Getty Images

Jordan’s farewell run with the Chicago Bulls is often referred to as “The Last Dance”, after the title of an ESPN and Netflix documentary that chronicled the season. Jordan announced his (second) retirement a few weeks before the Finals, making the six-game series against the Utah Jazz the most-watched in NBA history, according to Nielsen TV ratings. (Jordan would later return from 2001 to 2003 to play with the Washington Wizards, but did not win another championship).

“Game-worn Michael Jordan sports memorabilia have time and again proven to be the most elite and coveted items on the market,” said Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectibles at Sotheby’s, in a statement. Press release. “However, the elements of his ‘Last Dance’ season are bigger and bigger, as shown by our record sale of his Game 1 shirt in 2022.”

The auctioned pair of sneakers were worn in Game 2 at Salt Lake City, which the Bulls won 93-88 after losing Game 1, with Jordan scoring 37 points. These are the last pair of black and red Air Jordan 13 models Jordan has ever worn on court for an NBA game, a Sotheby’s press release noted.

After Game 2, Jordan signed and gifted the set of worn-out shoes to the ball boy in the visitors’ locker room, which he was known to do, according to Sotheby’s.

The Air Jordan 13 sneakers are part of a two-part sports memorabilia sale called “Victoriam”, which includes items worn by athletes such as Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer as well as a Chicago Bulls Varsity jacket, signed by the 2022-2023 team. The jacket is part of a new collaboration between the Bulls and Off-White, founded by Virgil Abloh, who died in 2021.

A public display of memorabilia from the sale, including Air Jordan 13 sneakers, will open April 5 at Sotheby’s Galleries in New York City.

Top Image: The Air Jordan 13 sneakers from Michael Jordan.


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