Michael Jordan game-worn sneakers aim for world-record price at April auction
NEW YORK — As the sports memorabilia market continues to flourish, establishing new benchmarks and setting records, Sotheby’s will offer one of the most significant items from Michael Jordan’s career and his final year with the Chicago Bulls – his 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s from The Last Dance season. An important relic from the height of Jordan’s career, his 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 shoes are among the most illustrious pieces of sports memorabilia to exist, and the present example is the only complete pair of his game-worn shoes from the 1998 NBA Finals to have been authenticated by the MeiGray Group – the game worn partner and authenticator for the NBA – to appear at auction. Offered with an estimate of $2 million-$4 million, the historic Air Jordans are the most valuable sneakers to ever appear on the auction market.
While Michael Jordan is pervasive in sports and pop culture, this year is especially notable as it marks the 21st century’s Jordan Year — a reference to Michael Jordan’s jersey number. The sale also comes on the heels of the forthcoming film release of Air, chronicling Nike’s rise to sneaker dominance through its partnership with Michael Jordan in the mid-80s and genesis of the famed Air Jordan sneaker.
The shoes will be offered in a single-lot sale, kicking off the VICTORIAM sales series, a two-part online auction series featuring best-in-class sports memorabilia from iconic past and present athletes. The auctions will be open for bidding from April 3-April 11, with a public exhibition at Sotheby’s New York galleries beginning on Wednesday, April 5.
The Bred Air Jordan
Bred Air Jordans are a shorthand synonym for Black and Red Air Jordan sneakers, a style Michael wore – featuring iconic Bulls colors – from the inception of the Jordan brand (namely the Air Ship and the Air Jordan I) all the way until the end of his career with the Chicago Bulls and his final signature sneakers. The first pair of Bred sneakers Jordan wore in the NBA were banned by the league, which imbued the colorway with a certain mythical nature to sneaker culture. Rumors have swirled that the NBA would fine Michael $5,000 per game because the colors violated the league’s strict uniform code.
Released in stores in May of 1998, in the heart of the Bulls’ postseason run, the nostalgia associated with the Air Jordan XIII Bred is rooted in it being among the final public releases of an Air Jordan sneaker during Michael’s playing career with the Bulls. This particular pair would be the final pair of Air Jordan XIII Breds that Michael would ever lace up in an NBA game.
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