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Air Jordans Worn by Michael Jordan Become the Most Expensive Sneakers Ever Auctioned

12 April - 2023
by Vincent Moleveld


A historic moment was witnessed at Sotheby's auction house as a pair of Air Jordans worn by Michael Jordan during the iconic 1998 NBA finals sold for a staggering $2.2 million, setting a new record for the most expensive sneakers ever auctioned. The sneakers, officially known as the 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s, were sold online in a sports memorabilia sale after a week of intense bidding.

Although the final sale price fell towards the lower end of the estimated range of $2 million to $4 million, the significance of these sneakers cannot be overstated. Jordan wore them during the Chicago Bulls' legendary 1997-98 season, which marked the end of their historic run of victories. The season was the subject of an ESPN documentary in 2020, further elevating the sneakers' status.

Jordan's unparalleled fame and recognizability undoubtedly played a role in driving up the sneakers' value. Sotheby's proudly mentioned the "current record for game-worn sports memorabilia" set by a Jordan jersey from the same season, which sold for $10.1 million in 2022. Additionally, the recent release of the Ben Affleck-directed film "Air," which delves into the making of Air Jordan, has further fueled interest in Jordan-related memorabilia.

Traditionally known for its focus on art, Sotheby's, along with its competitors Christie's and Phillips, has been increasingly targeting younger collectors in adjacent fields, including sneakers and other collectibles. Sneakers, in particular, have proven to be a lucrative market for auction houses. Sotheby's made headlines in 2019 when it sold 100 pairs of sneakers for a record-breaking $1.29 million, and in 2021, it set another record with the sale of a pair of Michael Jordan Regular Season Game Worn Nike Air Ships for $1.47 million.

Brahm Wachter, Sotheby's head of streetwear and modern collectibles, expressed pride in the new record, stating, "Sotheby's is extremely proud to hold the world record for most valuable game-worn sports memorabilia at auction and the most valuable sneakers ever sold, both of which - to no surprise - are directly tied to the global icon, Michael Jordan." The soaring prices of Jordan-related memorabilia continue to capture the attention of collectors and auction houses alike, showcasing the enduring legacy of the basketball legend.

Header image: NIKE, NIKE AIR JORDAN XIII, SIZE 13, Rubber, Leather, Cotton, Synthetic, Circa 1998