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Game-worn Jordans auctioned for $104K

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POSTED December 12, 2013 11:36 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Michael Jordan’s shoes from the famous flu game of the 1997 NBA finals were sold for more than $100,000 in an online auction Thursday.

The Nike Air Jordan XII shoes were owned by a Utah Jazz ball boy who befriended Jordan when the Chicago Bulls visited Salt Lake City. Jordan was playing with what he thought was the flu, but still led the Bulls to a key victory in the NBA Finals.

Preston Truman has said he asked for Jordan’s shoes after the game. He kept them locked in a safe-deposit box at a Utah bank for 15 years. He turned down an $11,000 offer for the size-13 shoes from a collector the next season.

Thursday’s sale after several weeks of bidding was first reported by ESPN.com. The collector wasn’t identified.

Online bidding started at $5,000 before soaring to $104,765 when bidding was closed, said Michael Russek, operations director for Grey Flannel Auctions in Westhampton, N.Y.

Truman was “thrilled” and “really happy with the overall number,” Russek said Thursday. “He has no crazy plans other than paying off his college tuition.”

Truman befriended Jordan by fetching him his favorite pre-game snack, the former ball boy told The Salt Lake Tribune last month.

It started with a challenge from Jordan: “’There will be no autographs for ball boys after the game if I don’t get my applesauce.’”

With 45 minutes until tipoff in an early-season 1996 game, Truman dashed through the Salt Lake City arena looking for applesauce. He finally secured an industrial-sized container from a commissary. Jordan was grinning: “You came through,” he told Truman.

When the Chicago Bulls came back for the finals months later, Truman had more applesauce waiting for Jordan along with a bold request: “Are you doing anything with your shoes after the game?”

Jordan looked him in the eye and said, “Why, you want them?” Truman said he would be honored.

LeBron leads voting

LeBron James is the early vote-getter for the NBA All-Star game, edging Kevin Durant. The Miami Heat star has 609,336 votes, while the Oklahoma City’s Durant trails by about 2,000 votes in the first returns announced by the league on Thursday.

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (501,215) and the Clippers’ Chris Paul (393,313) pace the Western Conference backcourt players. The Heat’s Dwyane Wade (396,279) is the East’s top vote-getter in the backcourt, followed by the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (365,712).The All-Star game will be held in New Orleans Arena on Feb. 16.

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