A pair of Air Jordan 13 “Bred” worn by NBA icon Michael Jordan has fetched a record price of US$2.2 million during an auction by Sotheby’s on Tuesday, making it the most valuable sneakers ever sold.
The basketball star wore the “Bred” — short for “black and red” — for the second game of the 1998 NBA championship season with the Chicago Bulls. Spotted on the courts during the second half of the game between Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz, Jordan’s team eventually claimed the title with a score of 93 versus 88, with Jordan scoring 37 points and being named MVP. For avid basketball fans, that year’s game was known as the “Last Dance”.
In 2020, a Netflix documentary was made to recount Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls and his last NBA championship.
According to auction house Sotheby’s, the pair of trainers were gifted to a ballboy after the game for finding a lost jacket. However, it is unknown whether the shoes’ recipient had put it up for auction. The buyer’s identity is also a mystery. The “Bred” are the only complete pair of sneakers that have been photo-matched and authenticated by the MeiGray Group, the official authenticator of the NBA, as per the statement by Sotheby’s.
Commenting on this exceptional sale, Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles, said, “Today’s record-breaking result further proves that the demand for Michael Jordan sports memorabilia continues to outperform and transcend all expectations.” The “Bred” even broke Jordan’s own record of US$1.5 million for his Nike Air Ships in 2021. And last year, one of his jerseys was sold for US$10.1 million, which took home the crown as the highest-paid game-worn 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,” added Wachter. Apart from sportswear, there is also a sustained interest in items from different eras like classic cars and timepieces. Often, these vintage items hold historical significance that proves to be more valuable than its monetary value.
Jordan, a celebrated athlete, continues to be one of the richest sports players in the world and reportedly earns millions from his partnership with Nike through the Air Jordan brand which he started in 1984.
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