By a stroke of luck, Khalid Ali, a ballboy for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1984-1985 season, received an autographed pair of game-worn Nikes from Michael Jordan, a rookie at the time. Fast forward over 30 years, the very same sneaker earned him a major payday.
An anonymous buyer purchased the Nike hi-tops for $71,553, the second-highest price paid for Jordan’s in-game sneakers. The first, of course, are a pair of Air Jordan 12s worn during MJ’s iconic “Flu Game” in the 1997 NBA Finals, which sold for $104,765.
What makes these kicks in particular so special is that they pre-date the first Air Jordan silhouette. According to ESPN, Michael Jordan signed $2.5 million deal with Nike in December 1984, but in lieu of the Air Jordan 1, he sometimes wore the Air Ship.
The buyer wished to remain anonymous, according to Terry Melia, a spokesman for SCP Auctions, through which Ali sold the shoes.