A pair of sneakers worn by NBA legend Michael Jordan in his rookie season are expected to fetch a record price on October 24 at Sotheby’s Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury auction in New York. Designed by Bruce Kilgore the red and white sneakers known as the Nike Air Ships pre-date the recognizable Air Jordan 1 silhouette.
“Presented here is the earliest known Michael Jordan Regular Season Game Worn Nike,” the item description on Sotheby’s website reads, “These White & Red Air Ships are a remarkable artifact in the history of sports and basketball, and have been kept in excellent condition.”
Worn against Denver Nuggets on November 1, 1984, this pair bear Jordan’s signature and were originally gifted to Tommie Tim III Lewis, who worked as a Nuggets’ ball boy during the game.
Michael’s Black & Red Air Ships became controversial after the NBA sent a letter to Nike saying that the colorful sneakers were in violation of the league’s uniformity clause and threatened to fine Jordan $5,000 per game that he wore them. Nike took the ban and built an advertising campaign around the shoes around its Air Jordan 1s, saying while “the NBA threw them out of the game, fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.”
As expected, such an elusive artifact is not easily obtained, the prolific auction house estimates they’ll sell for between $1 million and $1.5 million, the highest-ever estimate for a pair of sneakers offered at auction. The sale will take place at the MGM Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Any takers?
Images Courtesy of Sotheby’s