LeBron James’ release Space Jam: a new legacy rekindles interest in the original film from 25 years ago starring Michael Jordan. It’s not limited to the screen, either. A pair of iconic Air Jordans will likely win a huge prize at auction.
The shoes were featured in the 1996 hit Space jam. They debuted when Jordan returned to the NBA in 1995. While some are taking the opportunity to turn the new film into a chance to lead the Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James conversation in a quirky direction, Sotheby’s Auctions is capitalizing on the resurgence. interest to attract potential bidders.
Michael Jordan made his Air Jordan XI debut in the 1995 playoffs
In March 1995, Michael Jordan ended an 18-month retirement from the NBA. His return to the Chicago Bulls resulted in a playoff berth. But it was clear that Jordan needed to get rid of the rust from his game. In 17 regular season games after his comeback, Jordan shot a career-worst 41.1 percent from the floor and lost 26.9 points per game. It improved a lot in the playoffs as he averaged 31.5 points per game with 48.4% shooting.
In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Orlando Magic, Jordan spoke in a pair of black patent leather high tops. It was Air Jordan XI’s “Space Jam”, which he also wore in the film.
That 1995 series against Orlando ended in disappointment for Jordan and the Bulls. But it was also the last playoff series the Jordan-led Bulls would ever lose.
One of the interesting facts about the shoes being auctioned is that they are in mint condition, made to exact Michael Jordan specifications.
Made in China, the Air Jordan XI pair has never been used
According to Sotheby’s, the shoes auctioned are “player sample” or “player exclusive” shoes. Produced in 1995 and made in Taiwan, size 13 shoes are designed by Michael Jordan. They come in a custom-made wooden box lined with velvet.
While Jordan released the Air Jordan XI “Space Jam” kicks in 1995, they weren’t available for sale until 2000. An advertisement during the Super Bowl in January 1992 featuring His Airness and Bugs Bunny inspired the Space jam movie. Jordan’s agent David Falk believed the Jordan-Bugs partnership could work in a feature film format.
A $ 27 million opening weekend would indicate that Falk correctly read the Marketing Crystal Ball. With a domestic box office of $ 90.4 million, it is the highest grossing basketball movie all time. The 1992 release of White men can’t jump had held the record.
The auction continues until July 26. Sotheby’s estimates that the Air Jordan XIs will sell for between $ 150,000 and $ 200,000. It will buy a lot of carrots if that’s your thing.
Michael Jordan and the history of the iconic Air Jordan brand
The lucrative partnership between Nike and Michael Jordan began during his rookie season. The 1985 release of the Air Jordan I “Notorious” shoe was just a glimpse of what was to come. In red and white with black trims, Air Jordan I set a template for the versions that would follow.
Through Cardboard connection, 35 Air Jordan models have hit the market in the past 36 years. This number does not include retro versions or colourways. The latest version arrived in 2020 with the Air Jordan 35 (thank you, Nike, for ditching the Roman numeral).
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum started wearing the Air Jordan 36 in the playoffs. The Air Jordan 36 “Tatum” will be available for retail on July 24, by Shoe News.
Eighteen years since he last played a game, Michael Jordan continues to prove that it has to be the shoes.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.
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