Sotheby’s is auctioning off a pair of signed sneakers that basketball legend Michael Jordan wore in one of his first games playing for the National Basketball Association. They are expected to fetch a record price when they go up for auction later this month. The Nike Air Ship trainers, which Jordan wore in his fifth game for the Chicago Bulls back in the 1984-85 season, are expected to be sold for between US$1 million and US$1.5 million, the auction house estimate.
Jordan wore the US size 13 shoes in a game against the Denver Nuggets on November 1, 1984. He autographed them and gave them to a Nuggets ball boy, current owner Tommie Tim Lewis III.
The shoes are one of the most important pairs to come on the sneaker market, Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles specialist, said in an interview. Mr. Wachter said they are the earliest-known regular-season game shoes that Mr. Jordan wore. “Collectors really covet things that are early,” he said.
The high-end sneaker auction market has exploded in the past few years, according to Mr. Wachter. The sneaker resale market itself is expected to reach $30 billion by 2030, and Sotheby’s is trying to carve out the top 5% of the high-end sneakers market, he said.
Sotheby’s Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury auction, which will take place in Las Vegas on Oct. 24, also features an early version of Bruce Springsteen ‘s “Born to Run.” The single sheet of ruled notebook paper, with 26 lines in blue ink and black felt tip, is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.