A pair of game-worn, autographed Michael Jordan shoes from the early stages of his NBA career– a style that launched the concept for future signature sneaker lines– is up for auction with an expected sales price well into six figures.
New York-based auction house Sotheby’s is now accepting bids for a pair of the 35-year-old specially-made shoes that Michael Jordan wore extensively in competition back in 1985.
As of Monday, bidding had climbed to $160,000. With the buyer’s premium factored in, the winning bidder will pay at least $200,000, already a record price for a pair of basketball shoes.
Not only does the pair of shoes signify unique memorabilia from NBA royalty, whose stock has never been higher thanks to the current popular ESPN documentary ‘The Last Dance,’ but the shoes are a pivotal component in the evolution of basketball sneakers.
This was the first time a sneaker company — Nike — created a line of shoes around an individual player. They did this to entice Jordan to sign with Nike, and the rest is history. The Air Jordan line laid the groundwork for virtually every notable basketball star after Jordan launching his own signature brand of shoes.
Created between February and April of 1985, the shoes are different from those available to the general public at the time, with red laces instead of black or white. Plus, Jordan wore mids while the public could only purchase from low-tops or high-tops. The shoes feature plenty of wear and tear — a nice sign for collectors as they further validate how often Jordan wore them. The “player sample” coding inside indicates their status as custom made for an individual athlete. The specific details of game use are not documented.
The right shoe of the pair is signed by Jordan with a black permanent marker.
The shoes were consigned by Jordan Geller, noted sneaker collector and founder of the ShoeZeum in Las Vegas.
“These are the most iconic and coveted sneakers of all time, sneaker fanatics and collectors from all over the world came to the ShoeZeum to admire them, and they were the crown jewel of the museum,” Geller said in a statement.
MJ wore Air Jordan 1s until October 29, 1985, when he broke his foot and subsequently took off 64 games during his second season while healing. He wore modified versions of the Air Jordan 1 upon his return to the game.
The dedicated, online auction is open for bidding through Sunday, May 17, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of Air Jordan, and the final episode of ‘The Last Dance’, which focuses on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan’s career.