A rare pair of the original Space Jam Air Jordan 11s, made only for Michael to wear in the 1996 film, has sold at auction for a whopping $176,400. The figure is enough to make the Js the seventh most expensive pair of sneakers ever sold at auction and the third most expensive Jordan, behind two pairs of game-worn Air Jordan 1s.
Sotheby’s hosted the auction for the unworn and autographed sneakers in Jordan’s size 13. The original Space Jam Jordan 11 featured “concord purple” accents instead of the “concord blue” used when the sneaker eventually released in 2001. Only a handful are known to exist, with one pair worn by His Airness famously being traded for a used Honda Civic in the nascent days of sneaker collecting.
The final selling price sits firmly in the middle of the expected figure, which Sotheby’s estimated at between $150,000 and $200,000. Previously, the sneakers were owned by Andre Ljustina, a sneaker collector and founder of the resale store Project Blitz.
How the legend has grown — The sneakers Jordan wore during key moments in his career are the most coveted by collectors, and the Space Jam Air Jordan 11s enjoyed a unique position as the footwear seen in the iconic film. To this day, Jordan Brand has never reissued the same exact sneaker from the movie.
Even when a 2016 reissue featured the original “concord purple,” the “45” graphic on the heel set the sneaker apart from its namesake original. The only way to acquire the “true” Space Jam Jordan is to land one of the few made for Michael, and this nitpicking over little details helped to drive up the price so high.
Last year, a pair of game-worn and autographed Air Jordan 1s became the most expensive sneakers ever sold at the time in an auction that closed to coincide with The Last Dance finale. The record $560,000 price was surpassed earlier this year by the original Nike Air Yeezy sample worn by Kanye West at the 2008 Grammys which sold for $1.8 million.
While the last few years saw the record broken frequently, it may be quite a while before we see anything more expensive than the Yeezys.