A pair of Michael Jordan’s brand sneakers are often seen as both a status symbol and a display of good fashion. But now a former ball boy is hoping the oldest known pair ever to be worn by Jordan in an NBA game also brings him riches.
More than 30 years ago, Khalid Ali was a ball boy for the Los Angeles Lakers and he acquired a pair of kicks Jordan wore during a game on Dec. 2, 1984, and will now auction them off next month through SCP Auctions, according to ESPN. ESPN also provided an image of the red-on-white hightops, with Jordan's autograph and the date visible on the left shoe.
Citing an auction back in 2013 when the sneakers Jordan donned during his famous “Flu Game” in the 1997 NBA Finals fetched a record $104,765 and another pair from Jordan’s rookie season going for $31,070 in the same year, SCP Auctions vice president Dan Imler told ESPN that Ali’s pair could fetch as much as $50,000, but that figure might be a low estimate.
"People obsess over game-worn Jordans and there's definite value to the fact that these are the earliest ones that have surfaced," Imler said.
Ali says he asked Jordan for a pair of sneakers during warmups, but the Hall of Famer told him he would be changing into another pair before tipoff. After the game, Ali then went to the Bulls locker room for the sneakers and Jordan also autographed them.
SCP Auctions have reportedly verified the shoes by looking at a different game Jordan played in five days prior against the Phoenix Suns.
Ali’s had the pair for more than 30 years, but told ESPN he’s never really bragged about them before.
"They were in my mom's closet," Ali said. "I didn't really talk about them much. People who met me after my teenage years don't even know I have them."
SCP Auctions has lots of experience selling game-worn memorabilia. It sold off former New York Yankees home run king Babe Ruth’s game worn jersey for $4.4 million and even American Olympic track legend Jesse Owens’ gold medal from the 1936 Berlin Games for $1.4 million, according to its official site.
Jordan hasn’t commented on the auction, and it’s unknown if he’s even heard about it, but given his wealth he’s unlikely to stop Ali. Forbes recently listed Jordan as a billionaire for the first time, citing the increased value of his NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets.