A pair of sneakers worn by NBA legend Michael Jordan in 1985 was on Sunday sold for Ksh59,751,552 ($560,000), at Sotheby’s auction house.
The autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s were designed for Jordan during his rookie years with the Chicago Bulls in 1985.
“Produced between February to April 1985, Jordan wore the present pair of Air Jordan 1s during an early, pivotal point of his career. This catapulted the sneaker’s popularity,” Sotheby’s said.
The sneakers had red laces and the right shoe has Jordan’s signature in permanent marker.
Another interesting feature is that the left shoe is in a size 13 while the right one is 13.5.
“Jordan 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,” Sotheby’s said.
The Air Jordan 1s broke the record
The auction house surpassed their initial target of $100,000 (Ksh10,680,000) to $150,000 (Ksh16,020,000), breaking the world-record of sneakers.
The bidders were from six different countries across four continents.
The Air Jordan 1 auction coincided with the release of the final episode of ‘The Last Dance’, an ESPN docuseries about Jordan and Chicago bulls NBA dynasty. Sunday was also the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan.
The 10 part series had an average of 6.1 million views making it the most-viewed ESPN documentary ever.
Before Sunday’s auction, the Nike Moon Shoe was the record holder of the highest bid pair of sneakers. Last year, the shoes were auctioned for $437,500 (Ksh46,725,000) at Sotheby’s auction house. The waffle-soled running shoes were designed by Nike’s co-founder Bill Bowerman for the 1972 Olympic Trials.
According to Sotheby, sneaker collecting has proven to be a lucrative business.
“The shoe sale shows the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan as one of the most recognizable and legendary athletes of all time. It also shows that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market,” Sotheby said.
Currently a pair of Air Jordan 1 on Nike’s website range between $90 (Ksh9,612) and $115 (Ksh12,282).