Michael Jordan’s rookie Nikes sell for $1.47M

A nearly 40-year-old pair of shoes was recently sold for just short of $1.5 million. But they weren’t just any shoes. They were worn by Michael Jordan during his rookie year in the NBA.

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The white and red Nike Air Ship high-tops are the earliest known regular season game-worn Nikes, NBC News reported.

The shoes predate Jordan’s iconic Air Jordan design which was given to the hall of fame after he agreed to sign with Nike. The “Air Jordan” nickname supposedly came from air present in Nike shoes, as well as Jordan’s ability to fly through the air to hit the basket.

When he started his rookie season, the Air Jordan 1 was not ready so he used Nike Air Ships either with “Air Jordan” or “Nike Air” printed on the heels. The pair auctioned had only “Air” on them, Sotheby’s said.

They are signed and came from Jordan’s fifth NBA game in 1984, according to Sotheby’s, the auction house that sold the sneakers. The game was on Nov. 1, 1984, according to Sotheby’s.

The shoes were the first to break the $1 million threshold, selling for $1.472 million Sunday as part of the “Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury” auction, held in Las Vegas.

Card collector Nick Fiorella made the winning bid, Bloomberg reported.

The record had been set by Nike Air Jordan 1 High game-worn shoes, sold by Christie’s in August 2020, NBC News reported. A pair of “Grammy-Worn” Kanye West Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes were sold in April for $1.8 million but it was a private sale.

The provenance of the shoes, according to Sotheby’s, was that they were gifted from Jordan to the owner, Tommie Tim III Lewis, the Denver Nuggets Ball Boy at the time of the game. The shoes also came with Lewis’ staff pass.