A pair of game-worn Michael Jordan sneakers from his rookie season bought for $1.472 million to high-end card collector Nick Fiorella on Sunday throughout Sotheby’s Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury public sale in Las Vegas, shattering the record for most costly game-worn footwear.
The sneakers have been donned in Jordan’s fifth NBA sport, a 17-point, 5-rebound and 5-assist outing towards the Denver Nuggets. Photo-matching purports that the sneakers might’ve been worn even earlier.
The sneakers are Nike Air Ships, designed by sneaker icon Bruce Kilgore — who created Nike Air Force 1s in 1982 and went on to design the Air Jordan IIs. The legend is that when Nike first made a take care of Jordan in 1984, his first signature shoe (Air Jordan 1s) wasn’t prepared. In the meantime, Nike provided Jordan with Air Ships — however Jordan’s have been so colourful that the NBA knowledgeable him they violated the uniform clause.
This pair, notably, was signed by Jordan, in addition to gifted to, maintained and now bought by former Nuggets ball boy TJ Lewis.
Brahm Wachter, who heads up Sotheby’s streetwear and trendy collectibles arm, mentioned: “From the moment news broke of these sneakers, it generated huge [buzz]. This exceptional result for the Jordan Nike Air Ships speaks not only to the strength of the collectibles market but also to the esteem with which Michael Jordan’s items and the Jordan franchise are held.”
The earlier record for game-worn sneakers was, unsurprisingly, additionally a pair of Jordan’s. In a preseason exhibition in Italy in 1985, Jordan shattered a backboard with a dunk. The Air Jordan 1s he was sporting that sport — nonetheless with a bit of glass within the sole of the left shoe — bought at a Christie’s public sale in August 2020 for $615,000.
The Jordan Air Ships are the second-most costly footwear ever bought at public sale; the Yeezy 1 prototypes Kanye West publicly revealed and wore on the 2008 Grammys have been bought for $1.8 million with Sotheby’s this previous April.