Shattered Backboard Game’s Michael Jordan sneakers fetch $ 615,000 at Christie’s auction


It’s no secret that Michael Jordan was a game-changer in professional basketball.

And the sneakers he wore in 1985 when he smashed a panel at an exhibition match in Italy were a game-changer for Christie’s Auction House.

The London-based auction company ended its “Gamechangers” series on August 13 with sales of $ 1,149,000. Among the most prominent items were the sneakers Jordan wore on August 25, 1985 in Trieste to a Nike-sponsored exhibition match. The price set a new record for the most expensive pair of basketball shoes ever sold, surpassing a pair of rookie season Jordan sneakers that sold for $ 560,000 at Sotheby’s just three months ago.

Jordan, four months into his rookie season, signed both sneakers after the game in which his dropped dunk smashed the back panel. Jordan wore a black and orange # 23 Stefanel Trieste jersey and the impact of Jordan’s slam rained shards of glass down the pitch. A few small pieces of glass are still embedded in the soles.

Christie partnered with Stadium Goods for the auction, which included 11 different lots of Jordan sneakers.

Broken back panel sneakers brought in the most money, but five other pairs of shoes also brought in significant amounts. Total sales of the six winning items totaled $ 931,875, including buyer’s premiums.

A pair of Air Jordan 7s worn by Jordan in the 1992 Olympic basketball final grossed $ 112,500, more than double the pre-sale estimate, while an Air Jordan 1 TYPS, a Signature sneaker exclusive to 1985 players, had a final price of $ 62,500 after buyer’s premium.

“We are delighted with the good results of Original Air and to be once again part of a new high for sneakers at auction,” said John McPheters, co-founder and co-CEO of Stadium Goods. The new brand achieved with the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1 is special for Stadium Goods because this model occupies such a unique place in sneaker culture.

“This sale once again confirms that sneakers are cultural artifacts and deserve to be listed alongside other luxury items in the collectibles market,” added McPheters.

The shoes for the broken backboard game came from Gianni Bertolitti, Stefanel’s captain. He received Jordan’s shoes after the game, and MJ signed the inside collar of the shoes in black ink. The sneakers came with a letter of authenticity, which included the story behind the sneakers. The item also included never-before-seen scans of original photographs taken during the game.

Signatures for beginners have been authenticated by JSA.

In addition, the Air Jordan 11 “Concord” sneaker, worn in-game and signed from 1995, won a winning bid of $ 56,250. Part of the proceeds was allocated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Christie’s said interest in the auction was global and the majority of bidders were new to its platform.

“We are thrilled with the results of Christie’s inaugural sneaker sale and delighted to see unprecedented engagement from around the world with online visitors from over 120 countries,” said Caitlin Donovan, vice president of handbags and Christie’s accessories. “Additionally, the virtual event surrounding the sale was among the busiest online events Christie’s has hosted since the lockdown (of the coronavirus pandemic). As we move into this new category, we are encouraged by the interest not only from new buyers, but also from established Christie’s customers who buy in other sales categories. We look forward to our future partnership sales with Stadium Goods, which will take place later this year. “

While the Jordan shoes garnered the lion’s share of attention at the auction, 21 photos taken by legendary photographer Walter Iooss Jr. also grabbed bidders. Iooss, 76, a member of the International Photography Hall of Fame, has taken some of the most expressive and iconic photographs in the history of the sport.

A collection of his photographs, “The Athlete: Photographs by Walter Iooss Jr.,” was an online-only auction that ended on August 11. Total sales, including the buyer’s premium, brought in $ 217,125.

The big winner was the January 1982 photograph of “The Catch,” Dwight Clark’s winning touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys that sent the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XVI. The winning bid was $ 37,500. A photo of Jordan in the air about to slam basketball home in a 1988 game grossed $ 35,000.

Photo of Dwight Clark Walter Iooss Jr.
Dwight Clark (# 87) catches the winning TD against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981-82 NFC Playoffs.

Other photographs sold included other photos of Jordan, as well as portraits and action shots of Kobe Bryant, Julius Erving, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Lou Brock, Muhammad Ali and Joe Namath.

On Bob D’Angelo

Bob has been a sports writer and editor for over 35 years and a blogger for a decade. He’s celebrating 50 years of collecting cards and still counts his 1965 Mickey Mantle Topps as his favorite. You can reach him at [email protected].


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