A pair of game-worn sneakers, donned by a rookie Michael Jordan, just sold for $1.47 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Las Vegas on Oct. 24.
Considered the greatest scorer of all time, Michael Jordan has redefined the game of basketball. But that’s not the only game Jordan has mastered: he is easily the greatest name in the sneaker game.
Jordan broke the standing record — his own, of course — for the most expensive game-worn footwear ever sold. On Oct. 24, Sotheby’s Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury auction in Las Vegas sold a pair of game-worn Jordan Air Ships for $1.472 million.
The winning bid went to Nick Fiorella, a high-end card collector.
Pair of game-worn Michael Jordan sneakers sells for $1.47M
Remarkably, the Jordan shoes were not actually Jordans: they predate the eponymous Nike brand for which Jordan’s elite performance elevated for decades.
The shoes sold at Sotheby’s were Nike Air Ships, designed by famous shoe designer Bruce Kilgore. When Jordan inked a deal with Nike in 1984, his first signature shoe, the Air Jordan 1s, was not ready. Instead, Nike sent Jordan Air Ships, but the colorway was so bold that the NBA told Jordan the shoes violated their strict uniform clause.
This particular pair of Jordan Air Ships were donned in Jordan’s fifth NBA game of his career, where the then-rookie produced 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. The game, which has been called the catalyst for “Jordan’s first-ever revenge game” as his Bulls lost to the Nuggets but Jordan later sought revenge.
After Jordan wore these Air Ships, he signed and gifted them to former Nuggets ball boy TJ Lewis, who sold them at the auction this past weekend.
Perhaps the Bulls will see postseason success again all these years later — they remain one of the NBA’s few remaining undefeated teams with a 4-0 record thus far.