Michael Jordan’s Flu Game Shoes Sell for $1.38 Million
Pictured: Michael Jordan during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Air Jordans Michael Jordan wore for his famous "Flu Game" sold Wednesday night at Goldin Auctions for $1.38 million.
“To me, the ‘Flu Game’ is the most iconic game of Michael Jordan‘s career, and that’s what everyone refers to when they talk about toughing it out and rising to the occasion under difficult circumstances,” Ken Goldin said. “To me, these are the most important and most valuable pair of sneakers that will ever be sold.”
That winning bid is 13 times more than the price paid a decade ago, when former Utah Jazz ballboy Preston Truman first sold the shoes at auction. At the time, the shoes sold for $105,000 in a Grey Flannel Auctions sale.
In the decade since — and particularly in the past couple of years — game-used items have been on the rise, especially Jordan's. In September, Sotheby's sold Jordan's jersey from Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals for $10.1 million.
ESPN's documentary "The Last Dance" boosted the value of items used during the 1998 Finals, which was Jordan's last title.
While the sale comes on the 25th anniversary of Jordan's final shot with the Bulls, the clincher in Game 6 of the 1998 Finals, the "Flu Game" (Game 5 of the 1997 Finals) is arguably just as special in Jordan lore.
Jordan was so sick that day that he had to get an IV before the game and could barely stand between shots. It was called the flu then, but in recent years, the narrative has steered more to a food poisoning incident involving a late night pepperoni pizza.
Truman doted on Jordan when he played in Utah and gave him his pregame applesauce and graham crackers. Jordan gave Truman his Air Jordan 12 shoes that night in thanks.
Truman not only kept the signed shoes, but had a picture taken of Jordan giving him the shoes.
Truman is currently in a legal battle with Grey Flannel Auctions over another pair of Air Jordans the Bulls star gave him after Game 2 in 1998. Those shoes were sold by Grey Flannel for $215,000 in 2020, then resold by Sothebys for a sneaker record $2.23 million in April.