No pair of sneakers have blasted past the $1-million mark at an auction until now.
A pair of sneakers worn by the legendary NBA player Michael Jordan just became the most valuable game-worn sneakers of all time after netting almost $1.5 million at an auction on Sunday.
Designed by Bruce Kilgore, the 1984 Nike Air Ships are Jordan’s staple pair during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls, right when the Swoosh company’s Jordan brand was just breaking the glass ceiling. Its most memorable use was during his 5th NBA game on November 1, 1984, when the Chicago Bulls bowed down to the Denver Nuggets, 113-129.
The shoes were sold to collector Nick Fiorella for $1.47 million (about P74.6 million), at a Sothesby’s “Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury” auction in Las Vegas last weekend.
“These White & Red Air Ships are a remarkable artifact in the history of sports and basketball, and have been kept in excellent condition by the Denver Nuggets Ball Boy they were originally gifted to, Mr. Tommie Tim III Lewis,” Sothesby’s wrote about the iconic pair. Aside from signs of court wear and tear, the autographed size-13 creps were in good condition overall.
It easily blew past the previous record-holder, a pair of 1985 Nike Air Jordan 1 High, which sold for less than half the Nike Air Ships tag at $615,000 (about P31 million) at a Christie’s auction last August 2020.
“To present such a groundbreaking and important pair of sneakers at this special auction in Las Vegas further solidifies the strength and broad reach of the sneaker collecting community,” said Brahm Wachter, head of Sotheby’s streetwear and modern collectibles department. Sothesby’s only started selling sneakers at public auctions in 2019.
In those productive couple of years, the luxury broker has also sold a pair of Kanye West “Grammy Worn” Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes from 2008 for $1.8 million last April, although the sale took place at a private auction.
Art Daniella Sison