Sotheby’s said the sneakers are the earliest-known shoes worn by Michael Jordan during a regular season.
Sotheby’s has opened bidding on what will be the most expensive sneaker ever sold at auction: a pair of Nike Air Ships worn by Michael Jordan. Current bidding is at 1.1 million US dollars, with estimates of a sale to reach 1.5 million US dollars.
The British auction house says the sneakers are accompanied by a Letter of Provenance from its owner, Mr. Tommie Tim III Lewis, who was gifted the shoes by Michael Jordan. A Letter of Opinion in regards to Game Use from MEARS Authentication, LLC confirms the authenticity.
The Nike Air Ship is an important part of sneaker history and design legacy of the original Air Jordan. In 1984, Nike gave Michael Jordan his own signature line of shoes and clothes, which was pivotal in Michael agreeing to sign with Nike. It was the first time the brand ventured into a collaboration with an athlete on this scale, paving the way for many of the player collaborations we see today.
The current record for a pair of sneakers sold at auction is 615,000 US dollars, auctioned off by Christie’s in August 2020, also worn by Jordan in the friendly match of 25 August 1985 in Trieste, as part of a Nike promotional tour. In May 2020, following the success of the successful docu-series “The Last Dance”, Sotheby’s managed to sell a pair of autographed Air Jordan 1s for a record 560,000 dollars. After the documentary aired, sales of nearly all products associated with the six-time NBA champion hit record highs.
In October 1984 America’s National Basketball Association (NBA) wrote a letter to inform Nike that Jordan’s colourful shoes were a violation of the league’s uniformity of uniform clause. Nike responded by creating an infamous ad campaign around Jordan’s ‘banned’ shoes (advertising the first Air Jordans) remarking that while “the NBA threw them out of the game, fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.”