One fan is now the owner of game-worn Michael Jordan sneakers from MJ's rookie season, but the kicks didn't come cheap. Jordan's game-worn sneakers sold for $1.472 million to collector Nick Fiorella, breaking the record for most expensive game-worn shoes. The Nike Air Ships sold Sunday at the Sotheby's Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury auction in Las Vegas.
The sneakers were worn in MJ's fifth ever NBA game for the Chicago Bulls. In the game, which was against the Denver Nuggets, Jordan recorded 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.The pair of shoes were signed and given to former Nuggets ball boy TJ Lewis, who sold them.
Brahm Wachter, heads of Sotheby's streetwear and modern collectibles department, told ESPN:
"From the moment news broke of these sneakers, it generated huge [buzz]. This exceptional result for the Jordan Nike Air Ships speaks not only to the strength of the collectibles market but also to the esteem with which Michael Jordan's items and the Jordan franchise are held."
The sneakers were designed by Nike Air Force 1 creator Bruce Kilgore. According to sneaker rumors, when Jordan signed with Nike back in 1984, the Air Jordan 1a, set to be his signature shoe, were not ready, so the company went with Air Ships.
The NBA said because the sneakers had so much color, they violated the uniform clause.
Before these shoes sold on auction, a different pair of Jordans held the record for most expensive game-worn shoes. Those shoes were worn in 1985, when Jordan broke a backboard with a dunk in a 1985 preseason exhibition in Italy. There was still a piece of glass in one of the shoes when the sneakers were sold for $615,000 at a Christie's auction in August 2020.