Michael Jordan gave these sneakers to a ball boy. Now, they could break auction records.
A pair of shoes Michael Jordan wore during the NBA Final in his “Last Dance” season with the Chicago Bulls and signed by the basketball legend are expected to break the record for most expensive sneakers ever sold for auction.
The shoes, Air Jordan 13s, are “an important relic from the height of Jordan’s career,” Sotheby’s said, and are the only sneakers from Jordan’s six NBA Finals series to be authenticated by the MeiGray Group, the official authenticator of the NBA.
“Michael Jordan game-worn sports memorabilia has proven time-and-time again to be the most elite and coveted items on the market. However, items from his ‘Last Dance’ season are of a greater scale and magnitude,” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectables, said in a statement.
Here’s what to know about the shoes:
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What type of sneaker are they?
The shoes are Bred Air Jordan 13s, with Bred being short for “black and red,” the famous colors worn by Jordan during his Bulls career.
“Inspired by a panther’s predatory nature, Tinker (Hatfield) harnessed its tenacity to create the Air Jordan XIII. The shoe featured an unconventional holographic eye and an outsole resembling a panther paw,” Jordan website states.
The shoes were released to the public in May 1998, just as the Bulls were making another playoff run, Sotheby’s said. The shoes were also the final pair of Bred Air Jordan 13s he’d ever wear in an NBA game.
Michael Jordan wore the sneakers, gave them to ball boy
Jordan wore the sneakers in the NBA Finals during his “Last Dance” season, his final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98.
After losing game one in the series to the Utah Jazz, Jordan wore different shoes in game two before putting the Bred Air Jordan 13s on in the second half. He wound up scoring a game-high 37 points in the game at Salt Lake City, as Chicago evened the series and eventually went on to win their last NBA championship.
Following game two, Sotheby’s said Jordan took his sneakers off in the locker room, signed them, and gave them to the ball boy responsible for the visitor’s locker room “as a thank you for his services and hospitality.” The ball boy had returned Jordan’s lost jacket at an practice the day prior, and asked “Can I get your kicks after the game tomorrow?”
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How much are the Bred Air Jordan 13s expected to sell for?
The sneakers are expected to sell between $2 million-$4 million, per the Sotheby’s listing.
“The historic Air Jordans are the most valuable sneakers to ever appear on the auction market, and are poised to eclipse the current auction record for a pair of sneakers,” Sotheby’s said.
The current record for highest price of sneakers ever sold was Kanye West’s Air Yeezy 1 from 2008, which sold for $1.8 million in April 2021. Jordan also had another pair of sneakers, a pair of Nike Air Ships, that sold for $1.4 million in 2021.
When are the Bred Air Jordan 13s up for auction?
The sneakers will go up for auction on Sotheby’s on April 3, and will be up for bidding through April 11.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michael Jordan ‘Last Dance’ XIII shoes from 1998 NBA Finals at auction