The record-breaking sale on April 13 of the Air Jordan 13s worn by Michael Jordan in 1998 NBA Finals is a testament to the enduring legacy of one of the most iconic athletes in history.
When Michael Jordan‘s 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s from “The Last Dance” sold for $2.2 million USD, it set a new benchmark for sports memorabilia. Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectibles, Brahm Wachter, declared, “Today’s record-breaking result further proves that the demand for Michael Jordan sports memorabilia continues to outperform and transcend all expectations.” Indeed, Jordan’s sports memorabilia has become the gold standard for collectors and enthusiasts alike.
The 1998 NBA Finals, also known as “The Last Dance” season, were a defining moment in Jordan’s career. With the Chicago Bulls trailing the Utah Jazz after Game 1, the stakes were high. Yet, Michael Jordan rose to the occasion, scoring 37 points over 40 minutes and securing a 93-88 victory for the Bulls in Game 2. It was during this game that Jordan donned the now-legendary ‘Bred’ Air Jordan 13s, propelling him to his 6th NBA Championship and 6th Finals MVP award.
The sneakers, which have become a symbol of “The Last Dance,” were gifted to a ball-boy after the game as a token of appreciation for his services. The immaculate condition of the sneakers, adorned with silver signatures on each toe-box, makes them one of the rarest and most valuable Jordan memorabilia pieces to date.
The Air Jordan 13s, designed by Tinker Hatfield, were inspired by a panther’s predatory nature. The shoe’s holographic eye and panther paw-like outsole were intended to give athletes the agility of a cat, mirroring Jordan’s incredible prowess on the court. Additionally, the Air Jordan 13s gained popularity through their appearance in the Spike Lee-directed film, “He Got Game,” starring Denzel Washington.
The Bred colorway, featuring the iconic black and red Bulls colors, became synonymous with Michael Jordan’s style throughout his career. The NBA initially banned the first Bred sneakers for violating uniform code, but Nike capitalized on this, branding them as rebellious and using the controversy to fuel their marketing campaign.
“The Last Dance,” Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls, has become a beloved period in the basketball legend’s career. The tension between key players and the Bulls’ General Manager, Jerry Krause, added a sense of urgency to the season, ultimately culminating in the team’s sixth championship win.
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Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Air Jordan 13s hold a special place in the world of sports memorabilia. As the highest publicly recorded price for a pair of sneakers, these iconic shoes represent not only a piece of basketball history but also a symbol of the enduring legacy of Michael Jordan, the man who changed the game forever.
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