Michael Jordan's 1984 Nike Air Ships Sell for Record-Breaking $1.5M in Sotheby's Auction

The sneakers were worn during Michael Jordan's fifth game with the Chicago Bulls in his rookie season

michael jordan
Photo: John Betancourt/getty

A pair of Nike sneakers worn by Michael Jordan in his rookie season were sold for a record-setting $1.472 million in a Sotheby's auction over the weekend.

Collector Nick Fiorella was the winning bidder who scooped up the red and white Nike Air Ships at the Las Vegas auction Sunday, NBC News reported.

The size 13 sneakers were worn by Jordan during his fifth game with the Chicago Bulls, against the Denver Nuggets, on Nov. 1, 1984. According to Sotheby's, they are the earliest known regular season pair of Nikes worn by the NBA great during a game.

Sotheby's has been selling sneakers since 2019, NBC News reported.

Brahm Wachter, Head of Sotheby's Streetwear and Modern Collectables, said in a statement that presenting "such a groundbreaking and important pair of sneakers at this special auction in Las Vegas further solidifies the strength and broad reach of the sneaker collecting community."

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," Wachter added, per Sports Illustrated.

Jordan had gifted the shoes to Tommie Tim III Lewis, a former Denver Nuggets ball boy.

"These White & Red Air Ships are a remarkable artifact in the history of sports and basketball, and have been kept in excellent condition by the Denver Nuggets Ball Boy they were originally gifted to, Mr. Tommie Tim III Lewis," Sotheby's wrote online.

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The Air Ships, designed by Bruce Kilgore and signed by Jordan, are the first pair of sneakers to be auctioned for more than $1 million, according to NBC News.

The staggering price tag is still short of the most expensive pair of sneakers to be sold privately, however. In April, Kanye West's 2008 Yeezy 1 Prototypes sold for $1.8 million to Rares, a company that specializes in investing in sneakers.

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