Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Air Jordan XIIIs sneakers are displayed during a press preview in New York on April 6, 2023 at Sotheby’s.
Image: Timothy A. Clary / AFP
A pair of sneakers worn by NBA superstar Michael Jordan sold for $2.2 million on Tuesday, setting a record price at auction for game-worn sports footwear, Sotheby's announced.
The basketball great wore the "Bred" Air Jordan 13s during Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals on the way to his sixth and last NBA championship title.
The online sale cements Jordan's position as the most valuable athlete at auctions for sportswear memorabilia.
It broke his own record of $1.5 million for sneakers, set in September 2021.
Last year, one of his jerseys sold for $10.1 million, the most ever paid at auction for any game-worm collectibles.
"Today's record-breaking result further proves that the demand for Michael Jordan sports memorabilia continues to outperform and transcend all expectations," Brahm Wachter, Sotheby's head of streetwear and modern collectables, said in a statement.
Jordan wore the sneakers for the second half of the Chicago Bulls' 93-88 victory over Utah Jazz on June 5, 1998.
Jordan scored a game-high 37 points as his Bulls side tied the series 1-1.
The Finals featured in the hit 2020 ESPN/Netflix documentary "The Last Dance," about Jordan's final season with the Chicago side.Also read: Sotheby's targets $1 million for rare Nike Olympic shoe
Wachter said nostalgia for a different era was driving the popularity of Jordan memorabilia.
"We have clients in all different areas, from real estate, to finance to private equity. There are many people that are interested in this emerging market," he told AFP.
The price, which includes fees and commission, came in just above Sotheby's low pre-sale estimate of $2 million but well below the predicted high of $4 million.
The auction house said Jordan had autographed the shoes and given them to a ball-boy after the game.
Sotheby's did not identify the seller but said it was not that original recipient. Nor did it name the buyer of the size 13 shoe.
The sneakers are known as "Bred" for their black and red color, a style Jordan wore throughout most of his trophy-laden career.Also read: Pakistani truck artist gives new flair to kicks
Jordan, now 60, spent the bulk of his playing career with the Bulls, with whom he won all six of his titles, but came out of retirement in 2001 to play two seasons with the Washington Wizards.
The retired star now owns the Charlotte Hornets, located in his childhood home of North Carolina, and reportedly still earns millions in royalties each year from sales of Nike's Air Jordan brand of sneakers.
Tuesday's sale coincided with the release this month of the movie "Air," about Nike's pursuit of Jordan.
The $10.1 million sale of Jordan's jersey from Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals in September 2022 beat a record held by Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" Argentina jersey.