Michael Jordan is a living legend. The legacy he’s established in the realm of basketball is incredible, but Jordan has definitely evolved over the years into more than an athlete. Sure, he’s made questionable decisions regarding his career in the past, but all of that is shadowed by the tremendous success he continuous to be even if it’s been two decades since he played basketball professionally. He’s become a global ambassador and spokesperson for high-profile brands. He’s also become a competent businessman with his expensive shoes, owning several restaurants and even a basketball team.
But one of his biggest moneymakers today still remains to be the Michael Jordan brand. According to this article from Heavy.com, his partnership with Nike through the Jordan brand has made him millions. In 2017 alone, the brand generated a whopping $3.1 billion in sales. That’s a serious feat for any brand to achieve, but it’s not surprising for something as in demand as the Jordan brand. For years now, Air Jordans have remained to be one of the most coveted shoes in the entire shoe industry. Air Jordans have created hyper collectors and unbelievable shoe collections all over the world. What’s surprising about this is the fact that Jordans are not exactly affordable shoes. An average pair of brand new Jordans can cost a buyer at least a couple of hundred dollars. That doesn’t even account for “special” editions and retro releases. When retro Jordans are rumored to be coming out, people prepare months in advance to be able to line up and purchase one, two, or even several pairs. Some buyers resell these shoes for a marked up price, but there are those who keep the same pair—just because.
It goes beyond brand loyalty. To some it may be considered an obsession. However, there are others that are a little bit smarter with their money. For example, consider Preston Truman. According to Hypebeast.com, Truman was a simple ballboy back in 2013 for what was then the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Truman’s luck changed one night when Michael Jordan himself handed the ballboy a pair of Air Jordan 12 Flu Game—autographed and everything by the basketball legend. For someone like Truman, something like this is surely a once-in-a-lifetime situation. And like most of us, the next question that popped in his head was the rational one: how much could he make selling the pair? Not too long after he received the shoes, Truman put the Flu Game up for auction. He tagged the pair with a humble $5,000 starting price. It’s not surprising that the Flu Game only had 15 bids by the time the auction closed. Not many people can afford a $5,000 pair of sneakers, regardless of how big a fan they may be of Air Jordans. But Truman did more than just auction his gift off; he actually made history with this transaction. By the time the auction ended, the final bid went to someone who was willing to pay $104, 765 USD for the Air Jordan 12 Flu Game. It became the highest selling Jordans of all time, and it remains to hold that title to this day.
That seems like an awful lot of money for a pair of sneakers; but when you’ve got an overflowing bank account, you can really buy anything you want. This wealthy buyer even changed someone’s life along the way because Truman became six figures richer after the sell. But what about the shoes could possibly make anyone want to pay that much? For starters, we already mentioned that Jordan’s autograph were on the shoes—on the left side upper of the left shoe to be exact. The autograph is a stark black contrast to the red leather of the shoes. To put it into perspective, a single signed photo of Michael Jordan could be worth up to $250, as mentioned on Keymancollectibles.com. So the autograph on this shoe adds a lot of worth to begin with.
The next important thing to point out is the pair itself. There’s a reason why this particular pair is special, and it’s the reason why the shoes are referred to commonly as Flu Game. The story is retold from this article on Sport.one. Jordan actually wore this pair of Air Jordan 12 in a very important game. In 1997 during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Chicago Bulls were fighting for the championship against their ultimate rival team at the time, the Utah Jazz. Jordan supposedly had flu-like symptoms during that game, but he willed something in himself to play a game that night like he’s never before. Jordan led the Bulls to win Game 5 with an impressive 38 points. The Bulls went on to also win Game 6 that year, nabbing the championship along the way. Jordan was also named NBA Finals MVP that year.
The Flu Game
Many basketball fans all over the world will forever remember the Flu Game. It was one of those moments that really defined who Jordan was going to be to the game of basketball and exactly why he remains to be one of the greatest in the sport. Jordan had no excuses; he just played the game, and he played it better than anyone we’d seen before or after. The Flu Game factor definitely marks up the value of the Air Jordan 12 Flu Game shoes. There’s no other pair like it in the world, and there will never be one ever again. For a serious collector, and we assume that whoever put that bid is one, obtaining these shoes is akin to being a part of that point in basketball history. It’s really something you can’t put a price on; but if you could, it would probably be around $104,000.