Over the past few weeks, we've learned that the life of an NBA ball boy includes much more than meets the eye. First, SI senior writer Chris Mannix recalled that one time Allen Iverson gave him $2,000 to buy "as much Corona as possible" and the then-Celtics ball boy returned with just four cases after losing dozens to thieving opportunists along the way. Hate when that happens.
And now comes word that after the "flu game" in 1997, Michael Jordan autographed the size-13 Nikes he wore in the legendary 38-point performance and handed them off to a Jazz ball boy. After keeping the shoes locked away since the Clinton years, the lucky recipient recently decided to approach Grey Flannel Auctions, where bidding will begin on November 18.
"We were approached by the ball boy because of our affiliation with the Basketball Hall of Fame," [Grey Flannel Auctions director of operations Michael] Russek told BDL. "He never looked to sell them before now. I think he recently realized that he was getting a little older and was more curious than anything to see if people still cared about the story."
And why would the ball boy give up such a precious personal keepsake?
"He wants someone else to have them who can display them better, as they've sat in a safety deposit box for the last 15-plus years," Russek said. "Mainly, he wants Jordan fans to hear the story and know they are out there and how they were obtained."
[Ball Don't Lie