Michael Jordan’s Flu Game Sneakers Set To Be Auctioned

Image via Grey Flannel Auctions

Odds are as winter approaches, your social media feed is going to be bombarded by people who are “on their deathbed’ with some basic form of the flu. Like clockwork, somebody will chime in, “that’s going around,” as the flu or any bug for that matter almost always is. People who need motivation to get out of bed need to look no further than game 5 of the 1997 finals in which Michael Jordan scored 38 points, grabbed 7 boards, dished out 5 assists and had 3 steals to lead the Bulls to victory over the Utah Jazz.

The same shoes that MJ wore that game are set to be auctioned off next Monday with a starting bid of $5,000. Former Utah ballboy Preston Thurman, now 35, acquired the shoes after making an unlikely friend in His Airness. The story is kind of interesting, as Jordan and Thurman first met in November of 1996, when Chicago visited Salt Lake City for a regular season contest. Jordan was upset that there was no pregame applesauce available for him and Thurman jumped on the case, tracking down an industrial size jug of Jordan’s superstitious snack. When the Bulls returned next Spring for games 3,4, and 5 of the NBA Finals, Thurman remembered Jordan’s pregame ritual and once again supplied him with the treat. Jordan must’ve appreciated the effort because as Thurman approached a physically ill Jordan before Game 5 and asked if he could have his sneakers after the game, Jordan mustered the energy to apparently oblige. After a hard-fought game, Jordan stayed true to his word and got the shoes for the 18-year-old ballboy, even as security guards were trying to pack the kicks away. The shoes might have ended up in the Hall-of-Fame, but will now go to help the now 35-year-old Truman transition into the next part of his life.