Shoes worn by Michael Jordan in Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals sold for $2.2 million Tuesday afternoon at Sotheby’s—a new record for any pair of sneakers.
The record-breaking result also marks the shoes as among the most expensive Michael Jordan items ever sold at auction, following the $10.1 million sale of Jordan’s Game 1 jersey from that “Last Dance” ’98 season in September of last year, still the record for any piece of game-worn sports memorabilia.
The former record for a pair of sneakers at auction is the earliest known Jordan regular season worn Nike Air Ships, which sold for $1.472 million in 2021 at Sotheby’s – becoming the first pair of sneakers to sell for more than $1 million at auction.
“Today’s record-breaking result further proves that the demand for Michael Jordan sports memorabilia continues to outperform and transcend all expectations,” remarked Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Collectibles.
The presale estimate had been $2-$4 million.
The Game 2 shoes date to what became Jordan’s sixth NBA title. After dropping the first game of the series to the Utah Jazz, Jordan scored 37 points to propel the Bulls to a 98-93 win and a 1-1 tie in the best of 7 set. The game was played on June 5, 1998.
According to the auction house, the shoes originated with a Jazz ball boy. Working the visitors’ locker room during the series, he had found a jacket Jordan had lost during a shootaround the day before Game 2 and returned it to Jordan. After the superstar offered his thanks, the ballboy asked, “Can I get your kicks after the game tomorrow?” The ball boy had gotten to know Jordan in previous visits—acquiring other pairs of his shoes along the way– and the superstar obliged his latest request after the game, adding his autograph to the toe of each shoe in silver marker.
The Air Jordan 13s are the only complete pair of Jordan worn sneakers from an NBA Finals game that have ever been photo matched and authenticated by The MeiGray Group, the official authenticator of the NBA.
The shoes were presented in a single-lot online sale, kicking off Sotheby’s Victorium sales series, a two-part online auction series featuring primarily game-used sports memorabilia from past and present athletes.
A jersey worn by Jordan in at least two games during that 1997-98 season sold for $508,000 in the auction while the shooting shirt worn by Kobe Bryant on the night in which he scored a career best 81 points in 2006 netted $406,400. It had sold to David Kohler of SCP Auctions in February of 2022 for $277,200. The jersey worn by Pele in his debut match with the New York Cosmos on June 15, 1975 sold for $177,800.