If you happen to have any game-worn kicks donned by Michael Jordan himself in your collection, you’re sitting on millions. On Sunday, Oct. 24, a pair of Air Ships rocked by the GOAT in one of his earliest NBA games sold for a cool $1.47M.
The auction was handled by Sotheby’s—now clearly the purveyor of million-dollar kicks—at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Bloomberg reports that the buyer was Nick Fiorella, who is described as “a high-end cards collector.” That’s a card holder with plenty of banks.
Reportedly, the kicks were worn during just the 5th game (Nov. 1, 1984) of Michael Jordan’s career. Sneakerheads will recognize the white and red shoe not as his Air Jordan 1 signature model first released to the public in 1985, but the Nike Air Ship model.
The shoe sold today was touted as the “The Most Valuable Sneaker Ever Offered at Auction” and was expected to sell for between $1 and 1.5 Million, which was clearly spot on.
“Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand helped redefine what a signature line formed around an athlete could be. These sneakers are a crucial part of the genesis of that story,” said Brahm Wachter, Head of Sotheby’s Streetwear and Modern Collectables, in a statement. “This pair, with provenance from Michael’s 5th NBA game really touches two worlds as the Nike Air Ship holds a special place in the hearts of sneakerheads as the precursor to the Air Jordan 1, but beyond that, it is also simply an incredible artifact that dates to the nascency of Michael Jordan’s rookie season. We are thrilled to unveil this astonishing piece worn by one of the best athletes to play any sport, as Sotheby’s continues to lead the sneaker and modern collectables market.”
Interestingly, today’s sale isn’t the most expensive sneaker to be sold at auction. That distinction goes to another Sotheby’s brokered sale of Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype that was purchased by sneaker investment app RARES. Hip-Hop Wired recently interviews RARES founder and CEO Gerome Sapp who’s long seen sneakers as a viable and valuable asset class.