Michael Jordan’s ‘Flu Game’ shoes sell for $1.38 million at auction

Michael Jordan powered the Bulls to a Game 5 win despite having flu-like symptoms. (Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
Michael Jordan powered the Bulls to a Game 5 win despite having flu-like symptoms. (Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

We all remember Michael Jordan’s famous “Flu Game,” right? The legendary Jordan scored 38 points for the Chicago Bulls in a 90-88 win over the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals despite experiencing flu-like symptoms before and during the game — though he later revealed he had food poisoning from pizza.

Well, someone bought a piece of that incredible night. The signed Air Jordan 12s — initially gifted by Jordan to Jazz ballboy Preston Thomas the night of the game — sold for $1.38 million at Goldin Auction. The shoes were photo-matched by MeiGray and came with a letter of authenticity from Thomas as well as a photo of Jordan signing the shoes in front of Thomas after the game.

Jordan gave Thomas the shoes in part because he remembered Thomas gave him snacks — graham crackers and applesauce — during a November 1996 game against the Jazz. When Thomas was assigned to the visitor’s locker room during the Jazz’s series with the Bulls at the Delta Center, he gave Jordan the same snacks. Thomas later asked what Jordan would do with his shoes after the game, and Jordan asked if he wanted them.

“I would be honored,” Thomas said.

Thomas later sold the sneakers in 2013 for $104,765.

Oddly enough, this isn’t even the most money Jordan’s game-worn shoes have sold for. Jordan’s signed Nike Air Ships from his fifth game as a Chicago Bull in 1984 sold for $1.47 million in 2021. Two years later, a pair of Jordan’s black and red Air Jordan 13s from Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals — Jordan’s last title — sold for $2.2 million on April 11, 2023.