The first known pair of regular-season shoes worn by Michael Jordan sold at auction on Sunday for $1.472 million, breaking the record for the most expensive sneakers ever sold, according to Sotheby’s.
The shoes, “Nike Air Ships”, were from Jordan’s fifth game of the 1984 rookie season with the Chicago Bulls, a 129-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets. In the game, which took place on November 1 of that year, Jordan recorded 33 minutes and scored 17 points with five assists and five rebounds. Jordan gifted them to then-Nuggets ballboy TJ Lewis, who had kept them ever since. The shoes are also signed in red pen.
They were sold at Sotheby’s Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury auction in Las Vegas, and the buyer was high-end sports card and memorabilia collector Nick Fiorella, Sotheby’s said in a statement.
“Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand helped redefine what a signature line formed around an athlete could be,” Brahm Wachter, head of Sotheby’s Streetwear and Modern Collectables, said in a statement. “This pair, from Michael’s fifth NBA game, truly touches two worlds as the Nike Air Ship holds a special place in the hearts of sneakerheads as a precursor to the Air Jordan 1, but beyond that, it’s also simply an incredible artifact that dates back to the beginning of Michael Jordan’s rookie season.”
According to Sotheby’s, this pair of shoes ranks second among the most expensive shoes ever sold, behind the Yeezy 1 prototypes that rapper Kanye West wore to the 2008 Grammy Awards which sold for $1.8 million in April during a Sotheby’s private sale.
The 1984 season was the first of Jordan’s 15-year NBA career, during which he was a 14-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA draft pick, 10-time scoring champion, five-time NBA MVP and a six-time NBA Finals champion, among many other accolades in his career.
A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Jordan also won the 1984-85 NBA Rookie of the Year award, the same season he wore the shoes auctioned off Sunday. Jordan averaged 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 82 games that season.