In a highly anticipated online auction, Sotheby’s sold Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s for $2.2 million, breaking the record for the most expensive pair of sneakers ever sold.
This sale follows Sotheby’s previous record-breaking sale of Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Game 1 jersey, which sold for $10.1 million in September 2022 and set a new world record for any game-worn sports memorabilia.
The Significance of Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s
The Air Jordan 13s were worn by Michael Jordan during the most memorable season of his illustrious career.
Dubbed “The Last Dance,” the 1997-1998 season culminated in the Chicago Bulls winning their sixth NBA championship in eight seasons, cementing Jordan’s legacy as the greatest basketball player of all time.
The shoes were worn by Jordan during Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, where he scored a game-high 37 points and led the Bulls to a 93-88 victory.
The Air Jordan 13s are iconic for several reasons. First, they feature the classic black and red colourway that is synonymous with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Second, they are the only complete pair of sneakers worn by Jordan in any of his six NBA Finals series that has been photo matched and authenticated by The MeiGray Group, the official authenticator of the NBA.
Finally, these sneakers are significant as they mark the end of an era, the final public release of an Air Jordan sneaker during Michael Jordan’s playing career with the Bulls.
The Rise of Sneaker Culture
Sneaker culture has seen a surge in popularity over the years, with collectors willing to pay top dollar for rare and limited-edition sneakers.
Sotheby’s has been at the forefront of this trend, expanding into the streetwear and modern collectables market and setting several historic benchmarks for the category. The 2019 inaugural dedicated sneaker sale saw a pair of Nike Waffle shoes sell for $437,500, establishing a new auction record at the time.
In addition, Sotheby’s assembled the most valuable sneaker and fashion auction, with the sale of 200 pairs of the Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” by Virgil Abloh.
The Legacy of Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan’s legacy extends far beyond basketball. He is a cultural icon, a symbol of excellence, determination, and perseverance.
The recent release of “Air,” a documentary chronicling Nike’s rise to sneaker dominance through its partnership with Michael Jordan in the mid-’80s, is a testament to the impact he has had on sneaker culture.
This year, 2023, marks the 21st century’s “Jordan Year,” a reference to Michael Jordan’s jersey number.
The sale of Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s for a record-breaking $2.2 million is a testament to the enduring legacy of the greatest basketball player of all time.
Sotheby’s, with its track record as the leading global auction house in sneakers, streetwear, and sports memorabilia, continues to set new benchmarks for the category.
The Air Jordan 13s are significant not only as a piece of sports memorabilia but also as a cultural artefact, a symbol of a bygone era, and a reminder of Michael Jordan’s incredible achievements both on and off the court.