It might have been the quietest multi-million dollar collection in sports.
A set of six single shoes worn by Michael Jordan during each of his NBA championship-clinching games has been unveiled and will be on display at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City this week.
Dubbed the “Dynasty Collection,” the autographed Air Jordan shoes were each on Jordan’s feet when he walked off the court as an NBA champion in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998. Jordan signed each shoe before turning them over to Tim Hallam, Public Relations Director for the Bulls.
While the owner of the collection has asked to remain anonymous, Jordan’s postgame shoe gifts to Hallam after each title are not a secret. They began in 1991 when Hallam asked Jordan for one of them after the Bulls beat the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I don’t play; I don’t score; I don’t rebound so the (championship) rings don’t mean quite so much to me as they do to the players,” Hallam told newspaper columnist Bryan Bloodworth in 1997 after the Bulls’ fifth title. “I wanted something that was an actual part of the game, so I asked Michael for one of his shoes.
“Now it’s kind of become a standing joke between us. Every year after we won the title, Michael will take his shoe off in the interview area, sign it and give it to me. It’s kind of funny to see Michael walk around with one shoe on and one shoe off.”
That explains these pics 😁 pic.twitter.com/vHTWhCNJ8g
— MJO23DAN (@MJO23DAN) July 26, 2022
Certified Sports Guaranty, which certified the authenticity and provenance, calls the collection “ the most important group of game-worn sneakers ever assembled.” The shoes aren’t for sale but if they would reach the market, they would likely bring a price greater than any lot of sports memorabilia ever sold. $15-$20 million or more wouldn’t be out of the question. Sotheby’s recently sold a full pair of Jordan’s earliest regular season Nikes for a record $1.5 million.
The shoes are on loan for the display at the National.
“Even after examining the world’s most important collectibles for four decades, the Dynasty Collection had the power to take my breath away,” said Mark Salzberg, Chairman of the Certified Collectibles Group, of which CSG is part. “For the role these shoes play in our collective consciousness, how they relate to sports, fashion and celebrity, they are the contemporary Ruby Slippers, only rarer.”
The shoes are all distinctly different. During Jordan’s first title in 1991, he wore the Nike Air Jordan VI, modeled after his Porsche 911.
For the Bulls’ return to championship form in 1996, he wore the “Bred” with a translucent sole.
For his sixth and final NBA Championship in 1998, he wore an early prototype of the Air Jordan XIV known as “Last Shot,” fashioned to emulate the lines of his Ferrari 550 Maranello.
There’s also the Air Jordan VII from 1992 (the first without Nike branding), the VIII from 1993 (the “x-strap”) and the XII from 1997 (the first with Nike Zoom Air).
“I’ve had the privilege of handling some of the rarest sneakers in the world, and this group is truly a grail like no other. Michael Jordan game-worn sneakers are among the most sought after and valuable sneakers for collectors,” remarked Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectibles. “To have all six game-worn, championship Michael Jordan sneakers in one set is absolutely unbelievable.”
During the process of certifying the authenticity and provenance of the sneakers, in addition to working with other third-party photo-matching experts, CSG documented the shoes for posterity, taking thousands of professional, high-resolution images for 360-degree views.
CSG says it also obtained access to never-before-seen game photos to evaluate the shoes and establish that they are the ones worn by Jordan in his championship games.