Former Utah Jazz ball boy selling Michael Jordan’s “flu game” shoes
Preston Truman, now 35 years old, was a Utah Jazz ball boy during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls. History remembers Game 5 as the Michael Jordan “Flu Game” which many have said was actually food poison. The conspiracies have piled up over the years about whether MJ was poisoned or even hung-over. The point is, His Airness played 44 minutes that night and dropped 37 points in a huge three-point win over the Jazz, when he clearly wasn’t healthy.
A young Truman actually met Jordan earlier that year when he brought MJ applesauce after Chicago Bulls trainer Chip Schaefer forgot it. Jordan didn’t forget Truman after that and when they met in the NBA Finals, Truman was assigned to the visitor’s locker room. Truman says that when he saw Jordan again he remembered his name. So before Game 5, when Truman saw Jordan clearly struggling with what was called the “flu” at the time, grew up enough courage to ask MJ for his shoes after the game.
Now 15 years later, Truman has decided to not only tell his story, but also put up the famous shoes up for auction. All it will take to call these shoes yours is several thousands of dollars in the six digit range.
For 15 years, a safe-deposit box in a Davis County bank has housed a pair of size 13s that could put a dent in the national debt. Yet all it took for Preston Truman to earn the sneakers Michael Jordan wore during his legendary “flu game” was a little courage and some applesauce cups.
You have to read the entire story, but Truman talks about his plan for getting the shoes along with some anecdotes about Michael Jordan. It’s a very great read and Truman has decided to sell them now because he’s only seen the shoes a handful of times and it’s not doing him any good to keep them at the bank.
“I’m 35, and 40’s just right around the corner, and it seems like time goes by faster the older you get,” he says. “Maybe it’s just time to get those things out there.”
He’s seen them just a handful of times since, and he recently came to the conclusion that they’re not doing anybody a whole lot of good.
He reached out to auction houses, which verified that his shoes were the real McCoy by checking that Jordan’s suit in the photos matched what he was seen wearing earlier that night, and that the shoes bore identifiable scuff marks (which luckily they still did, even though Truman at one point narrowly prevented his mom from cleaning them off with a dish rag).
Bidding on the most iconic memorabilia from the most iconic athlete in his most iconic game will begin at $5,000 on Nov. 18 at Grey Flannel Auctions. Similar items have gone for tens of thousands of dollars.