Michael Jordan’s game-worn 1998 Air Jordans sell at auction for record $2.24 million


(NEW YORK) — One anonymous bidder has taken being a sneakerhead to a record level.

A pair of Michael Jordan’s game-worn shoes from Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals were sold for $2.238 million on Tuesday, the priciest pair of sneakers ever purchased.

The sneakers were sold as part of a lot of sports memorabilia auctioned off Tuesday by Sotheby’s. The Jordan XIIIs were the centerpiece of a two-part auction that also included the shooting shirt Kobe Bryant wore before his 81-point game, Tom Brady’s full uniform from a game in the 2004 Patriots championship season and the jersey Pele wore in his 1975 debut with the New York Cosmos.

The black and red Jordan XIIIs were autographed in silver marker and given to a ball boy after Jordan scored 37 points in a 93-88 win over the Utah Jazz. The Bulls had lost Game 1, but three straight wins starting in Game 2 pushed Chicago to within one game of their third straight title — and Jordan’s sixth overall.

Nine days later, Jordan would play his final game with the Bulls. The pair of Jordan XIII “Breds” up for auction would be the last he would ever wear in a game, according to Sotheby’s.

The ball boy had found Jordan’s lost jacket earlier the previous day and asked for his shoes as thanks — an ask Jordan fulfilled after Game 2, Sotheby’s said. The shoes remain in “immaculate condition” and are the only authenticated complete pair of sneakers worn by Jordan in an NBA Finals game, according to Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s estimated the Jordan XIIIs would sell for $2 million to $4 million.

The Air Jordans beat out the previous record of $1.8 million held by a pair of Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1s. The rapper wore the shoes, which were auctioned off by Sotheby’s in April 2021, during the 50th annual Grammy Awards in 2008.

A pair of Jordan’s Nike Air Ships worn during his rookie season in 1984 were auctioned off for $1.47 million in October 2021. They were the second-most expensive shoes of all-time and the most expensive game-worn shoes until the sale of the Jordan XIIIs.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.