A pair of sneakers worn by Michael Jordan when he led the Chicago Bulls to the NBA championship in 1984 have sold for a record-breaking $1.27m at an auction.
Nike Air Jordan I high-tops with the imprint of Jordan’s signature swoosh fetched 2.6 times more than their estimated value. The sneaker was a historic auction record and a shade more than the $1.2m price tag for Jordan’s left shoe from a separate auction a few years ago.
Jordan wore the shoes for the fourth quarter of Chicago’s 91-79 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the 1985 NBA finals. The game was pivotal: it was Chicago’s first finals win in 11 years, sending them to their first and only title.
Nike sales surge but barriers remain to the myth of Michael Jordan Read more
“They were the ultimate in quality,” said Joe Maddalena, the president and CEO of auction house Nate D Sanders Auctions. “This was the closest Jordan ever came to winning an NBA championship.”
Maddalena said the Authentic shoes contained only original markings, including Jordan’s autograph. The original (and identical) sneakers – the second pair he wore – sold in 2012 for $850,000.
Such shoes, which are often sought after for their authenticity, have a history of significant sales. The top selling high-top sneakers are the Adidas Air Jordan I, which had a sales record of about $1.5m, and the Nike Air Jordan IV, which commanded a record $1.1m in 2007. Those shoes, like the pair that sold in Philadelphia, were laced in Jordan’s left foot, a condition that makes them more valuable.
The Jordan shoe auction includes a detail of the swoosh on the back of the Nike Air Jordan I, designed by Jordan and Tinker Hatfield, right. Photograph: John Downing / AP
Nike introduced the original Air Jordan high-tops in 1985. Jordan had an historic regular season and playoffs in 1985, averaging 30.1 points and 8.7 rebounds while leading the Bulls to an 82-game schedule and a second straight NBA title.
Jordan now is the face of Nike and has a stake in the Charlotte Hornets. His signature shoe lines still sell well and he is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.