Presented here is a significant pair of Michael Jordan’s game-worn Air Jordan VII ‘Cardinal’ sneakers from the Bulls’ thrilling 96-92 road victory over the Utah Jazz on Feb. 1, 1993. The scene inside the Delta Center was very tense, not just because it pitted two of the NBA’s top teams, but mainly because Jordan had recently made disparaging comments about Salt Lake City as the host of the upcoming ’93 All-Star game. Jazz fans booed him vigorously every time he touched the ball. All that did was fire him up.
MJ made an incredible
half-court shot to beat the first half buzzer, nodding to the crowd in a sarcastic show of thanks. Chicago trailed by 20 points in the final seconds of the 3rd quarter and were still down 13 with six minutes left. That's when "His Airness" took over, scoring 20 points himself in the final 8:45 and willing his team to the four-point victory. He finished with 37 points on 13-28 shooting and seven rebounds, overshadowing a 40-point effort from Karl Malone.
The story behind the acquisition of these shoes is one worth telling. Former Utah Jazz ball boy, Alex Rodriguez, who had befriended the superstar on previous trips to Utah, was working in the visitor’s locker room prior to the game and overheard Jordan asking about extra tickets to that night’s game. (See Salt Lake Tribune article here: http://www.sltrib.com/sports/2017/11/02/former-jazz-ballboy-selling-magical-shoes-given-to-him-by-michael-jordan-in-1993/)
“He needed two extra tickets and not even the Utah Jazz ticket manager had any left,” recalls Rodriguez. “I sat next to Jordan and told him he could have my two tickets since the ball boys each received two to every game. He was very thankful and said he wanted to buy them from me. I told him, ‘No, you can just have them.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Okay, then you can have my shoes after the game.’”
When the game ended, Jordan was swarmed in the visiting locker room. “You couldn’t even see him what with all of the reporters. Suddenly he just stood up and called over to me. He asked the reporters to move and it was like Moses parting the Red Sea. I walked up through the gauntlet of reporters and he signed the shoes and said: ‘Here, Alex. Thank you very much. You are very kind.’ I said thanks and took off with the shoes and hid them in my locker.”
The size 13 shoes are the rare Air Jordan VII ‘Cardinal’ style heavily coveted by collectors. White with red and black accents, they sport a silhouetted Michael Jordan flying in for a slam dunk embroidered in gold on each ankle. Both shoes include Jordan’s patented number “23” in raised white numbers on the heels positioned on top of a red and black triangular motif. “AIR JORDAN” is embroidered in black into both white tongues and they are both properly tagged on the interior with "920112FT2". The shoes have each been signed by Michael on the outer rear area in black marker just below the embroidered gold silhouette. The shoes show evident court use and are properly tagged and structurally sound, with their original white laces.
This lot comes with a framed photo from the game showing Jordan wearing these very shoes. Also included is a red sweatband that was included with the shoes as part of MJ's gift to the lucky ball boy. What's more, Mr. Rodriguez was able to get Michael Jordan’s actual locker nameplate from the Delta Center's visiting locker room that night, with the logo reflecting Utah as host to that season’s NBA All-Star Game. He even laminated the article from the local Salt Lake Tribune with another image of Jordan and his sneakers from the game. Attached is a photo of Jordan with Rodriguez at the '93 All-Star Game.
Includes letter of provenance from the former Jazz ball boy, Alex Rodriguez, plus a VHS cassette with local Channel 5 news coverage of his story. Two full LOA’s from PSA/DNA, one for each shoe.
See game highlights below from this incredible comeback. His amazing half-court shot is at the :40 mark of the other video.