Despite making history, the Air Jordan 13 “Bred” shoes worn by Michael Jordan are at the center of a lawsuit.
As AfroTech previously told you, the game-worn shoes recently sold for $2.2 million at Sotheby’s auction house.
Utah ballboy Preston Truman was first gifted the signed shoes by Jordan after Game 2 of the 1998 NBA finals.
Now, Truman is alleging that before the shoes hit the auction block, they were sold “at an unconscionably low value,” The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
The exact amount for the “Air Jordan XIII Breds” mentioned is $215,000 in a sale brokered by Grey Flannel Auctions and its Director of Operations, Michael Russek.
The lawsuit mentions that Truman’s history with Russek dates back to 2013. Truman sold other famous sneakers like “the autographed size-13 black and red Air Jordan 12s, worn during Game 5 of the 1997 Finals” through Grey Flannel Auctions. For those, he pocketed $104,765 from a starting bid of $5,000.
In years to come, there was another offer on the table.
The lawsuit states that on May 16, 2020, Russek called Truman to represent a private buyer from overseas who was interested in purchasing the 1998 final shoes. It was believed that the buyer promised not to sell the shoes, according to the outlet.
The six-figure amount presented was said to be “the best offer.” What’s more, interest in the Air Jordan 13 “Bred” came around the release of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” docuseries on Michael Jordan, and Truman received a three-hour window to accept or decline the offer.
“Through a combination of high-pressure sales tactics, fraudulent misrepresentation, coercion, and implied threats, defendants fraudulently induced Plaintiff into entering a sales agreement with Defendants at an unconscionably low value,” the lawsuit reads.
In addition, Truman says he contacted Russek after having second thoughts about the deal. He states he was threatened with remarks such as “these are not the type people you mess with,” “the sale was final,” “there would be repercussions,” and “the money was on the way.”
The lawsuit adds claims that there was no overseas collector and that Russek and the real buyer(s) manipulated Truman’s relationship with Grey Flannel and unfairly pressured him with the false deadline.
One day after the initial call from Russek inquiring about the shoes, a pair of Air Jordan 1s sold at Sotheby’s auction for $560,000. So, Truman suggests that Russek was aware that “the best offer” claim was what he says was incorrect.
“Plaintiff was, in fact, induced to enter into the Agreement as a result of Defendants’ representations, promises, and/or omissions and would not have entered into the Agreement had Plaintiff known that the representations were false,” the lawsuit states.
Truman is hoping that the lawsuit will result in the return of the record-breaking sneakers he departed from due to “fraud, duress, and/or undue influence.”
He is also seeking monetary damages.