A signed 1985 Michael Jordan shoes triggered a bidding war and broke a world record

No matter which sport you want to talk about, there will always be a debate on who’s the best. Basketball is no exception. You’ve heard Hall-of-Famers such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Lebron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Bill Russell, and many more. Some argue that statistics matter the most, while others consider how a player’s passion affected the sport’s evolution through time.

If we’re strictly taking these two considerations into account, you will hear one name echo in the room—Michael Jordan. He was named one of the top 10 All-NBA-first teams and NBA’s most valuable player five times. Jordan is also considered the most impressive scorer in NBA history, averaging 30.1 points per game.

MJ shoes breaks Sotheby's world record.
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Once we go beyond statistics, you can see how the 6′ 6″ tall man raised the standards for all basketball players around the world. He empowered basketball athletes, especially African Americans. Beyond six national championships, exceptional athleticism, and philanthropy, Jordan also pioneered the “world culture” of athletic shoes. Indeed, Michael Jordan’s moniker, “The Greatest of All Time,” permanently sculpted his name in the history of basketball.

Speaking of athletic shoes, it wasn’t long before the Nike Air Jordan shattered the shoe industry. Fans of Michael Jordan wanted their hands on the signature kicks. The shoes were more than just a statement—they represented Michael Jordan’s finesse and fearlessness on and off the court.

Sotheby's auction for MJ shoes broke record.
Sotheby’s

A signed pair of Michael Jordan’s Nike Air Jordan 1 shoes were sold on Sunday. According to Sotheby’s, the auction broke the world record for sneakers. “One of the Most Important Basketball Sneakers of All Time. Made Exclusively for the Legendary NBA Chicago Bulls Player,”the Auction house wrote in their news release.

Ten bidders from all over the world competed for the Nike Air Jordan 1. The shoes were sold at the price of $560,000, breaking the previous world record set by Sotheby’s 2019 auction of the rare Nike’s “Moon Shoe.” The 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat’ Moon Shoe’ reached up to $437,500 and was sold to Miles Nadal, an avid collector. Only 12 ‘Moon Shoe’ were created, and only a few remain today.

Sotheby’s

The Nike Air Jordan 1s were only made for Jordan with red laces instead of black and white. “Following a bidding war which drove the value up by the US $300,000 within the final twenty minutes of the sale, the pair achieved more than 3.5x their $150,000 high estimate,” Sotheby’s said.

The shoes’ sizes are different, with the left shoe measures 13 while the right one is 13.5. Back then, Nike did not offer mid-top sneakers to the public. Michael Jordan wore the Air Jordan 1s until October 29, 1985, when he sustained an injury and had to lay off 64 games while healing.

Michael Jordan's shoes broke records at Sotheby's auction.
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The autograph in a permanent marker is also a distinct feature. Unlike other shoes signed by the basketball legend using ballpoint pens, the signature won’t fade quickly.

Coincidentally, the world-breaking auction of the Air Jordan 1 happened in the final episode of “The Last Dance.” The docuseries featured how Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls built their NBA legacy. It’s remarkable how the shoes of a record-holding NBA player break its own world record. Yet again, history has been made.