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    Michael Jordan’s Worn Trainers Set Record, Sell for $2.2m

    A pair of trainers once worn by basketball legend Michael Jordan has made history by selling for a record $2.2m (R40m) at auction, becoming the most expensive shoes ever sold. The Air Jordan XIIIs were worn by Jordan during the 1998 NBA Finals, which marked his last championship season with the Chicago Bulls. He had the size-13 shoes on when he scored 37 points in Game 2 of the Finals series, carrying the Bulls to a 93-88 victory over the Utah Jazz.

    After the game, Jordan gave the shoes to a ball boy in the locker room as thanks for finding a lost jacket, according to Sotheby’s auction house. The “Bred” Air Jordans – short for “black and red” – are the only complete pair of sneakers worn by Jordan in an NBA Finals game to be authenticated, Sotheby’s said.

    Sotheby’s had estimated that the signed sneakers would fetch $2m to $4m, but the final price of $2.2m sets a new record for shoes. The previous record for Jordan shoes was $1.47m for a pair of his Nike Air Ships auctioned in 2021.

    This latest sale confirms Jordan’s status as the most valuable athlete in the market for sportswear memorabilia. In 2022, a jersey he wore at the 1998 NBA Finals sold for $10.1m, which remains the highest price ever paid for a piece of Jordan memorabilia.

    “Today’s record-breaking result further proves that the demand for Michael Jordan sports memorabilia continues to outperform and transcend all expectations,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables.

    Jordan wore the first Air Jordan shoe in 1984 during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls. The Air Jordan I became available to the general public the following year, and to date, more than 30 different models of the Air Jordan have been made. Jordan won a total of six NBA Finals championships, two Olympic Gold Medals, and numerous other accolades, solidifying his place as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

    The story of Jordan’s last championship season with the Bulls was told in the 2020 documentary series “Last Dance.” Jordan won his sixth NBA championship in the 1997-98 season, and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the fifth time.

    The Air Jordan brand has remained popular long after Jordan’s retirement, with collaborations with Nike and other brands, and limited edition releases causing a frenzy among collectors and sneaker enthusiasts. The shoes are seen as a status symbol and a representation of Jordan’s legacy as a cultural icon.

    Main Image: Arts & Collections

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