Michael Jordan’s sneakers shatter record
Michael Jordan’s name is synonymous with breaking records and now his sneakers are too.
Following Sotheby’s Icons of Excellence and Haute Luxury auction, avid cards collector Nick Fiorella is now the owner of game-worn Michael Jordan sneakers from MJ’s rookie season, thanks to a new world record for the highest price achieved for a pair of sneakers at auction.
The earliest known Michael Jordan regular season game-worn Nike Air Ships, attributed to Jordan’s 5th NBA game in his rookie season on November 1, 1984, became the first pair of sneakers to sell for more than $1 million at auction when they sold for $1.472 million in Las Vegas at the weekend.
The Nike Air Ship holds a special place in the heart of sneakerheads as the precursor to the Air Jordan 1. Designed by Bruce Kilgore and originally released in 1984, the Air Ship was the first basketball shoe worn by Michael Jordan as an NBA professional. While in the process of creating the Air Jordan 1, Nike supplied him with a limited number of Air Ships, some had “Air Jordan” and some had “Nike Air” printed on the heels. This pair just say “Air”.
Estimated at $1-1.5 million, the Air Ships were the highest valued sneakers ever offered at auction and are the second-most valuable pair of sneakers ever, following Sotheby’s record-breaking sale in April of Kanye West "Grammy Worn" Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes from 2008, which sold for $1.8 million via private sale.
Brahm Wachter, head of Sotheby’s streetwear and modern collectables, says: “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. This record-breaking result for the Jordan Nike Air Ships affirms the place of Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan franchise at the pinnacle of the sneaker market. Since launching sneaker sales at Sotheby’s in 2019, we’ve seen time and again the ceiling for sneakers continue to be pushed, and we are excited about all the potential ahead of us.”