World of Sport

Michael Jordan’s ‘Flu Game’ trainers expected to fetch £50k at auction

World of Sport

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Michael Jordan’s 16-year-old basketball shoes have been listed for auction and are expected to sell for at least $80,000 (or £50,000).

The iconic black-and-red US size 13 Air Jordans, worn while he fired the Chicago Bulls to 1997 NBA glory despite suffering from the flu, have been verified by multiple US auction houses after their owner decided to part ways with the treasured item.

Jordan had to be helped off the court after his 38-point haul – including a buzzer-beating clincher – led the Bulls to a 90-88 game five win over the Utah Jazz, giving them a 3-2 NBA Finals series lead that would ultimately prove victorious.

It was a famous performance in a memorable victory, and one which will forever be highlighted as evidence of the man’s desire and professionalism in the face of adversity.

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So who is the seller and how did he get hold of such a valued item? That in itself is just as impressive a story.

Preston Truman was a teenage Utah Jazz ballboy for the game, and a favour he performed for Jordan has finally reaped dividends.

Jordan’s game-day ritual involved a strange food request – crackers and his favourite applesauce. But that night there was none available, so the legendary baller asked if someone could source him the sauce.

Preston, 18 at the time, obliged, and brought him an extra tub of the gooey stuff after the win. Jordan appreciated the gesture, and ensured the kid got his eponymous sneakers, which he also signed, asking an assistant to photograph the moment as evidence.

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Preston explained that he felt it was time he cashed in on the item.

"I'm 35, and 40's just right around the corner,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “It seems like time goes by faster the older you get.

“Maybe it's just time to get those things out there."

At $80,000 (or more – that is just an estimate) you can hardly blame him. Currently the bidding is around the $40,000 mark, so whatever the final cheque Preston’s act of kindness has earned him a small fortune.

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