With The Last Dance wrapping up last night and Michael Jordan fever at its highest in more than 20 years, it's no surprise to see people snatching up memorabilia from the GOAT. What may be surprising, however, is just how high the price has gone up.
A pair of game-worn and autographed Air Jordan 1s from 1985 sold at auction for $560,000, setting a new record for the most expensive sneakers. The Sotheby's auction closed Sunday night to coincide with The Last Dance finale and surpassed the previous record of $437,500 for the 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat "Moon Shoe."
MJ's on-court sneakers were special — What makes this pair unique isn't just the fact that they're autographed or were worn by Jordan himself. This is a pair of "Mids," whereas only "High" and "Low" versions were made available to the public in 1985. Further setting the sneaker apart is a longer and leaner Swoosh, construction from different materials, and red laces from a time when only black and white ones were included with sales.
As Jordan often wore throughout his career, the left shoe is a size 13 and the right is a 13.5. His autograph appears on the right shoe in permanent marker, which has helped it last longer than other signed sneakers done in ballpoint pen.
Who owned them last? — Jordan Geller, the sneaker collector behind the Shoezum, put the sneakers up for auction along with Sotheby's. The Air Jordan 1s were estimated to sell for $150,000 but ended up breaking the previous record held by the "Moon Shoes," which were also once owned by Geller.
He maintains a YouTube account dedicated to rare sneakers on which he posted a video last year of the now record-holding sneakers.
Jumping over the 'Moon Shoe' — Just last year, a pair of 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flats nicknamed the "Moon Shoe" set the previous record of $437,500. They were among the first to feature Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman's innovative waffle sole, and only 12 were made for runners at the 1972 Olympic Trials. Because they were hand-made, each of the "Moon Shoes" was irregular and one of a kind.
But much like the entire NBA throughout the '90s, even they were no match for Jordan.