A set of 6 individual Michael Jordan's championship sneakers sets auction record at US$8m

Recent years have witnessed the surging demand for Michael Jordan's game-worn memorabilia, especially with those Air Jordans worn during the NBA Finals being considered "holy grails" for basketball lovers. 

In 2023, his signed and game-worn "Bred" sneakers from the 1998 NBA Finals sold for US$2.3 million at Sotheby's, making them the most expensive sneakers ever auctioned.

Going into 2024, the Air Jordan craze has not seemed to wane a bit: Recently at another Sotheby's online auction, a set of six individual sneakers Jordan wore in the clinching games of his six career NBA championships fetched US$8 million, setting a new auction record for game-worn sneakers. On average, each shoe is worth nearly US$1.34 million.

Hailed as "The Dynasty Collection", the set consisted of Air Jordan VI (1991), Air Jordan VII (1992), Air Jordan VIII (1993), Air Jordan XI (1996), Air Jordan XII (1997), and Air Jordan XIV (1998). Notably, only one of each pair was sold. 

Michael Jordan's game-worn memorabilia have been highly coveted by collectors

Michael Jordan 1998 NBA Finals ‘The Last Dance’ Game Worn and Signed Air Jordan XIIIs, Game 2 | Sold: US$2,238,000, Sotheby's New York, April 2023 

Lot 4 | A Set of 6 Michael Jordan ‘Championship Clinching’ Game Worn Air Jordan Sneakers | 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998

  • Collection of Tim Hallam, obtained by current owner

Estimate: US$7,000,000 - 10,000,000
Sold: US$8,032,800

Auction House: Sotheby's New York
Online Sale: The One
Bidding Closing Date: 2 February 2024

The NBA legend’s unprecedented success as an athlete is well-documented and may never be replicated – 6 NBA championships, 6 Finals MVPs, 5 league MVPs, and 2 Olympic Gold Medals are just a few of Jordan’s on-court accomplishments. Many consider Michael Jordan to be the greatest athlete who ever lived.

In 2020, Netflix released the sensational sports docuseries, The Last Dance, which chronicles the rise of Jordan with a particular focus on the 1997-98 NBA season, his final with the Chicago Bulls. Shortly after it debuted, the popularity of the superstar was boosted once again, his collectibles being gobbled up by collectors and like-minded investors, experiencing a sizeable jump in value. 

The No. 23 jersey he wore during The Last Dance season's Finals, for instance, sold for a whopping US$10.1 million in 2022, setting the auction record for the most expensive jersey and game-worn sports memorabilia. 

The Last Dance documentary (2020) was a big hit showcasing the Bulls' progress throughout the 1997-1998 season

Tim Hallam, a public relations executive for the Chicago Bulls who had been with the team since 1978

Following each of Jordan’s six Championships – as the press piled in to snap photos of him celebrating, smoking cigars, popping champagne bottles, or calling loved ones – one thing became clear, Jordan was missing a shoe.

Before the 1991 NBA Finals, Tim Hallam, a public relations executive for the Chicago Bulls who had been with the team since 1978, decided to ask Jordan for something personal should the Bulls win, and requested one of his game-worn Air Jordan sneakers. 

Jordan, having secured the victory, fulfilled the request, and signed and inscribed the pair as well. With a tendency to be superstitious, he carried on the tradition following all six of his NBA Championships, giving Hallam each one of his game-worn sneakers. 

The sneakers were later obtained from Hallam by the current owner, a private American collector. Also included with the lot is a set of signed 1/1 limited photographs depicting Jordan following the 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1998 NBA Finals, smiling and celebrating, and wearing just one sneaker. 

1991 | Air Jordan VI | Chicago Bulls & The Los Angeles Lakers

The 1991 NBA Finals marked a momentous occasion where Jordan "grabbed the torch" from Magic Johnson. Before the 1991 season, Jordan never made it to the Finals and was considered a scoring machine incapable of winning a championship without conforming to the team concept illustrated by the likes of Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers. 

After Game 1 of the Finals, it appeared this trend would continue, but the Bulls would not be defeated so easily. Following the loss in Chicago, they recovered to win the next four games, giving Jordan his first NBA Championship and his first NBA Finals MVP, and ushering in the Bulls dynasty that dominated the 1990s.

Wearing this Air Jordan VI, Jordan recorded 30 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 blocks in the championship-sealing Game 5 win. 


1992 | Air Jordan VII | Chicago Bulls & The Portland Trail Blazers

The defending champion Bulls returned to the NBA Finals and faced Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers. A month prior to the Finals, Sports Illustrated declared that Drexler was Jordan’s "No. 1 rival" on its cover. Nicknamed "The Glide", Drexler was known for his jumping ability, quick feet, and seemingly effortless glides to the basket.

Though the two teams split the first four games of the series, the Bulls earned a decisive victory in Game 5 in Portland to set the stage for another Bulls championship in Game 6. Despite trailing by 15 points entering the 4th quarter, the Bulls outscored the Blazers 33-14 in the final 12 minutes to secure the championship. 

In this Air Jordan VII, Jordan scored a game-high 33 points and added 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals in the victory. 

1993 | Air Jordan VIII | Chicago Bulls & The Phoenix Suns

While winning back-to-back NBA championships and leading the Bulls back to the Finals for the third consecutive year, Michael Jordan did not win the 1992-93 NBA MVP. The award instead went to Charles Barkley, a member of the Phoenix Suns and Jordan’s opponent in the 1993 NBA Finals.

After the comparisons to Clyde Drexler the year before, Jordan once again sought to prove that no other player was on his level.

The Bulls raced out to a 3-2 series lead, with Jordan and the Bulls outlasting the Suns 99-98 to complete the three-peat. Jordan recorded a game-high 33 points and added 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 steal in the win, wearing this Air Jordan VIII.

1996 | Air Jordan XI | Chicago Bulls & Seattle SuperSonics

After the first three-peat, Jordan retired from basketball to pursue a career in professional baseball, following the will of his father, who passed away in 1993. But when the MLB players went on strike in 1994, Jordan refused to cross the picket line, and ultimately returned to the Bulls in March 1995.

That season, Jordan and the Bulls won a then-NBA record 72 games and made their fourth NBA Finals appearance of the decade. This time, their opponent was the Seattle SuperSonics, led by All-Stars Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. 

In Game 6, the Bulls clinched their fourth NBA championship with an 87-75 victory, where Jordan scored 22 points and added 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals wearing this Air Jordan XI. 

The championship-clinching victory notably occurred on Father’s Day and was a particularly emotional game for Jordan, who was playing in his first NBA Finals since his father’s tragic death. 

1997 | Air Jordan XII | Chicago Bulls & The Utah Jazz

The 1997 NBA Finals pitted the Chicago Bulls against a Utah Jazz team that boasted a couple Hall of Famers in John Stockton and Karl Malone. The series also featured one of Jordan’s most iconic performances, popularly referred to as the "Flu Game".

Prior to Game 5, with the series tied at two games apiece, Jordan became seriously ill. Announcer Marv Albert famously declared that Jordan was suffering from "flu-like symptoms" but Jordan himself later suggested in The Last Dance that he actually may have been suffering from a severe case of food poisoning from a rotten pizza.

In any case, Jordan miraculously battled through visible discomfort to score 38 points and lead the Bulls to a massive victory, setting up a potentially decisive Game 6.

Eventually, the Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz 90-86 and clinched their 5th NBA championship. Jordan registered a game-high 39 points to go along with 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block, wearing this Air Jordan XII.

1998 | Air Jordan XIV | Chicago Bulls & The Utah Jazz

Often referred to as "The Last Dance," the 1997-98 NBA season was Michael Jordan’s last with the Chicago Bulls. It is perhaps the most beloved period in Jordan folklore, as he reached the apex of his popularity and powers while conquering major internal divisions that were fracturing the team. The players knew that the roster would ultimately be disbanded at the end of the season and it was their final opportunity to win one last championship together.

The fairytale season culminated in a rematch of the 1997 NBA Finals with the Bulls squaring off against John Stockton, Karl Malone, and the Utah Jazz. 

In what remains the most-watched game in NBA history – the pivotal Game 6 – Jordan famously came up with a last-minute steal before sinking an iconic game-winning jump shot in the closing seconds. In the basketball community, it is simply referred to as "The Shot".

At the conclusion of the game, Jordan collected an NBA-record 6th Finals MVP award and scored 45 points in the Bulls’ championship-clinching and dynasty-cementing 87-86 victory, wearing this Air Jordan XIV.