If money were no object, how much would you spend for a pair of shoes worn by Michael Jordan in an NBA Finals game — especially if they were the Nikes he wore in an iconic performance while suffering from a nasty case of the flu?
The bilious Bull’s footwear, worn as he scored 38 points in Chicago’s Game 5 victory over the Utah Jazz in 1997, fetched $104,765 at auction. Jordan’s red-and-black Nikes from the “flu game” were sold by Preston Truman, who was a Delta Center ballboy befriended by MJ in ’97. Truman had stumbled upon Jordan while he was getting a pregame IV, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune, and summoned the nerve to ask for his footwear. From the Tribune:
Truman walked in. He almost turned back when he saw Jordan’s eyes were closed, but His Airness had sensed him and asked that he run some tickets to will call.
First, though, Truman leaned in and whispered — wondering whether this was a remotely sane thing to do — “Are you doing anything with your shoes after the game?”
Jordan looked him in the eye. “Why, you want them?”
“I would be honored,” he said.
After the game, Jordan came through on his promise…and now Truman is richer for it. The sale, handled by Grey Flannel Auctions, brought a price from an unidentified buyer that is a record for game-worn shoes in any sport, according to ESPN. A pair of shoes Jordan wore as a rookie brought $31,070 last month.
“I have looked at the shoes maybe four times since putting them in a safety deposit box 16 years ago,” Truman said (via ESPN). “I would go years without even thinking about it. … I just didn’t see the point to something so cool and a part of NBA history sitting at my bank anymore.”