A pair of Nike Air Ships from 1984 worn and autographed by NBA legend, Micheal Jordan has broken the auction record by more than half a million dollars selling for $1.47million at Sotheby on Sunday.

The piece of rare sneakers was the first basketball shoe worn by Jordan as an NBA professional. The red and white Air Ships was worn on the 26th of October, 1984 of his rookie season where he played for the Chicago Bulls against Washington Bullets where he had a  comfortable 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the victory.

The sneakers was placed for auction on Sunday by London-based auction house, Sotheby during Sotheby’s Icons of Excellence & Haute Luxury auction in Las Vegas and was sold to high-end card collector, Nick Fiorella for a record-breaking amount of $1.472million.

Michael Jordan’s Nike Air Ships worn by the basketball legend in 1984

What they are saying

The London-based auction house confirmed the sale via a Twitter post: “#AuctionUpdate The most valuable sneakers ever offered at auction—Michael Jordan’s regular season game-worn Nike Air Ships from 1984—have just sold at $1,472,000 in our luxury sale in Las Vegas. #SothebysxMGM https://t.co/OlxvZ1ETML

“In 1984, Nike gave Michael Jordan his own signature line of shoes and clothes, which was pivotal in Michael agreeing to sign with Nike. It was the first time the brand did anything like this, and it paved the way for many of the player collaborations we now see. The term “Air Jordan” was coined by Michael Jordan’s agent David Falk. David apparently came up with the name because Nike shoes had air in the soles and because, of course, Michael Jordan played basketball in the air,” Sotheby said in its catalogue note for the sneakers.

The head of Sotheby’s streetwear and modern collectables, Brahm Wachter, said in a statement that, “the record-breaking result for the Jordan Nike Air Ships affirms the place of Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan franchise at the pinnacle of the sneaker market.”

What you should know

The record sum of $1.47 million paid for the footwear is the highest sum ever paid for game-worn footwear from any sport. It also became the first footwear to sell for more than $1million at auction.
The previous record for game-worn footwear was unsurprisingly also a pair of Micheal Jordan’s which was worn by the basketball legend during a preseason exhibition in Italy in 1985 where he shattered a backboard with a dunk.
It was sold at Christie’s auction in August 2020 for $615,000, still with a piece of glass in the sole of the left shoe.
The most expensive sneakers in the world is Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy publicly revealed and worn at the 2008 Grammys. It was auctioned during a private sale in April for a staggering $1.8 million.
Nike Air Ships was designed by sneaker icon Bruce Kilgore who created Nike Air Force 1s in 1982 and went on to design the Air Jordan IIs.