Michael Jordan’s first pair of Air Jordans auction for more than USD 150K

At an auction estimate price of 100,000 – 150,000 USD.

Sotheby’s is presenting the  The One | MJ’s Air Jordan 1s – a special single-lot, online auction for Michael Jordan’s Game Worn autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s from 1985. Made by Nike exclusively for the iconic Chicago Bulls shooting guard, the pair represents the origin of player exclusive sneakers in team sports, paving the way for future star player exclusives for Scottie Pippen, Penny Hardaway, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and more.

Produced between February to April 1985, Jordan wore the present pair of Air Jordan 1s during an early, pivotal point of his career and thus catapulted the sneaker’s popularity. MJ wore Air Jordan 1s until October 29, 1985, when he broke his foot and subsequently took off 64 games during his second season while healing. He wore modified versions of the Air Jordan 1 upon his return to the game.

The MJ exclusive features unique variations from the public release of the sneaker: MJ’s are Mids, whereas Nike released only Highs and Lows to the public in 1985; the iconic Swooshes are longer, leaner, and more aggressive; and the pair is made from a different material and features red laces, varying from the public offering with only black and white laces. 

The right shoe features Michael Jordan’s signature in black permanent marker, unlike many of MJ’s Game Worn autographed shoes which are signed with a ball point pen that wears away over time. Beautifully creased, black and red and white slashes and markings on the uppers are presumably from the shoes knocking into each other or into the shoes of opponents while Jordan wore them to battle. 

Designed by Peter Moore, the name “Air Jordan” was coined by Michael Jordan’s agent David Falk, since the Nike shoes had air in the soles, and Michael Jordan played basketball in the air. Broadening the color spectrum of basketball shoes, Nike released at least 20 different colorways of the Original Air Jordans – unheard of at the time, with most basketball shoes plain and simple, offered in white and black, white and grey, white and navy, and occasionally white and red.

Jordan first began wearing Nike’s on the court in 1984, with a pair named the “Air Ships”. Michael Jordan’s black and red shoes became controversial after the NBA sent a letter to Nike in February of 1985 informing the company that MJ’s colorful shoes were a violation of the league’s uniformity of uniform clause, and forbid Michael from wearing them. Nike responded by creating an ad campaign around Michael’s banned shoes, remarking that while, “the NBA threw them out of the game, fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.”

The pinnacle of all sneakers since the Air Jordan 1s inception, the unparalleled sneaker became so popular and successful that Nike continued to make new signature Air Jordans each season. From the inception, Air Jordans have always been the pinnacle of sneakers, unmatched in their quality, craftsmanship, innovation, performance, and style.

The auction is coinciding with the 35th Anniversary of Air Jordan. The Popular ESPN documentary ‘The Last Dance’,
Spotlighting the Chicago Bulls & Jordan’s Legacy

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Bankelele says:

    Amazing business story – The Jordan brand.


    1. Brilliant brand. And how it a part of the brand (the shoes) have lived beyond their time, into heritage worth 560K USD.


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