An iconic pair of Air Jordan sneakers is going up for sale and is expected to be the most expensive pair of sneakers ever to appear at auction, estimated to sell for between $2 million and $4 million.
Sotheby’s is listing Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Nike Air Jordan 13s, worn during the basketball legend’s final season in the NBA.
The valuable sneakers were worn during Game 2 of the NBA Finals, where Jordan scored 37 points as the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz 93-88. After the game, Jordan signed the sneakers and gifted them to the ball boy who maintained the visitors’ locker room.
The Bulls went on to win the 1998 NBA finals for their sixth title of the decade.
Jordan already holds the record for most expensive pair of sneakers sold at auction: In 2021, Sotheby’s sold the earliest known Michael Jordan Air Ships, also made by Nike, for $1.472 million. The latest sneakers to hit the auction block are in immaculate condition, which is unusual for game-worn basketball shoes, according to Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles.
“Michael Jordan game-worn sports memorabilia has proven time and time again to be the most elite and coveted items on the market,” Wachter said.
He said items from Jordan’s final season are of greater value because he wore them during the height of his fame. The season gained recent notoriety with an ESPN and Netflix documentary, “The Last Dance.”
A Jordan jersey worn during his final season recently sold for a record-breaking $10.1 million, the most valuable Michael Jordan sports memorabilia to ever be sold.
Adding to the expected hype, it’s an important Jordan year on the calendar: 2023, which represents Jordan’s longtime jersey number.
Sotheby’s started selling sneakers in 2019 and formalized its streetwear and modern collectibles category in 2021. The category quickly became one of the fastest-growing categories at the company, Wachter said.
Last year, sales in the category totaled more than $48 million, with nearly 90% of lots sold, according to a Sotheby’s representative.
“Most of our clients in this category are between 20 to 40 years old, and more than 80% of the participants are new,” he said. “It’s been a great way to engage a new generation of collectors coming to the market.”
Bidding on the Jordan shoes begins online April 3 and goes through April 11 as part of Sotheby’s “Victoriam” sale.