A piece of NBA history may have all started with a little bit of applesauce.
The Jordan sneakers worn by Michael Jordan during his famous “Flu Game” in the 1996-97 NBA playoffs go up for auction next week, and the current owner, a former Utah Jazz ballboy, has opened up about a few details of the game.
The Salt Lake Tribune talked with Preston Truman, now 35, who was an 18-year-old ballboy when the Chicago Bulls came to town in ’97. The story started in November of 1996, though, when the Bulls trekked to the Delta Center during the regular season and Truman was tasked with finding applesauce to go with Jordan’s graham crackers, MJ’s apparent pre-game snack. When Truman came through with the goods, Jordan asked his name and remembered him when the Bulls were back in town in the postseason.
Truman was assigned to the visitor’s locker room for Games 3, 4 and 5 and hatched a plan to ask Jordan for his game-worn kicks. While MJ was hooked up to an IV pregame, he saw Truman and asked the 18-year-old to run some tickets to will call for him. That’s when Truman laid it out.
“Are you doing anything with your shoes after the game?” he said.
“Why, you want them?” Jordan replied.
Jordan went on to play his infamous game, scoring 38 points, including a game-deciding 3-pointer. Truman ran Jordan a spoon for three small cups of applesauce at halftime. The rest is history.
Truman got the shoes after the game and has kept them in a bank safe deposit box ever since. He said he was once offered $11,000 in cash for the autographed sneakers but turned it down. Truman will see how much they are really worth when they are auctioned off on Nov. 18.
Photo via The Salt Lake Tribune