Why did Michael Jordan’s sneakers fetch $ 1.4 million at auction?


Michael Jordan’s first known regular-season Nike pair raised $ 1.4 million at auction nearly three decades after making their debut on the basketball court.

Released in 1984, the size 13 Air Ships predate the basketball superstar’s iconic Air Jordan 1, making it the first basketball shoe Jordan wore during his professional NBA career. Their debut on the court was attributed to Jordan’s fifth game, played on November 1 of the same year.

“In 1984, Nike gave Michael Jordan his own line of shoes and clothing, which was essential for Michael to agree to sign with Nike,” Sothebys wrote in the auction listing. “It was the first time the brand had done something like this, and it paved the way for a lot of player collaborations that we are seeing now.”

But when Jordan joined the NBA, the Air Jordan 1 wasn’t ready for him – and that’s where the Nike Air Ship comes in. Jordan preferred his low-top sneakers to the ground so he could “smell”. the ground beneath his feet “. A limited number of Air Ships were provided to Jordan, some of which had “Air Jordan” or “Nike Air” printed on the heels. The newly auctioned pair just had “Air” written on the sole, of which the auction house is an “unusual example.” (The term “Air Jordan” was coined by agent David Falk, who came up with the idea because Nike shoes had air in their soles and “Michael Jordan played basketball in the air,” said noted Sothebys.)

In preseason games and early in the rookie year, Jordan wore white and red sneakers like the pair up for auction, as well as black and red jumpsuits dubbed “bred.” (Two pairs fetched $ 560,000 at auction in 2020.)

This controversy is perhaps the reason why the pair has reached such a high price.

According to Sothebys:

Michael’s Black & Red Air Ships became controversial after the NBA sent Nike a letter referring to a game on October 18, 1984 (NBA Preseason) informing the company that Jordan’s colorful shoes were a violation of clause d uniformity of the league. Nike responded by creating an infamous ad campaign around Jordan’s “forbidden” shoes (advertising of the first Air Jordans) noting that even though “the NBA has excluded them from the game, luckily the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them. “.

The shoes were donated to Denver Nuggets ball collector Tommie Tim III Lewis in 1984, who kept them in “excellent condition.” A letter from Lewis and his pass to the 1984-85 Denver Nuggets season was also included in the auction package. Additionally, an opinion letter authenticating use of the game noted that a photo match indicates the pair appear to match those pictured in Jordan’s third NBA game, suggesting the shoes could have been worn in games. additional before November 1st.



“Michael Jordan is the best-known Nike of the regular season.” Sothebys.Com, https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2021/mgm-resorts-x-sothebys-a-celebration-of-art-luxury-and-culture-luxury-live/michael- jordan-first-known-regular-season-nikes. Accessed October 29, 2021.

“Michael Jordan’s Game Worn 1985 Player Sample Air Jordan 1s.” Sothebys, https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2020/the-one-mjs-air-jordan-1s/michael-jordans-game-worn-1985-player-sample-air. Accessed October 29, 2021.


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