While MJ’s “Flight Guy” pair has already sold, the Air Jordan Dunk Soles from his sophomore season are still up for bidding.
When Nike initially released the Jordan 1 Retro Fragment in 2014, they retailed for $185. Today, the sneaker produced in limited quantities can resell up to 11 times more than its initial cost, in the $2,000 range.
For comparison, Adidas released limited pairs of the Kanye West-designed Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Core Black/Red; It retailed for $220 in 2016. The Yeezy sneakers now have a resale value of only four times their original price ($900).
According to sporting goods and athletic shoe expert Matt Powell, it all has to do with the player. Every other basketball fan will name MJ as the sport’s GOAT, and his name is universally known. Even an ESPN conducted a widespread survey of media members, athletes, and other professionals in the sports industry has Jordan topping the list, beating icons Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali.
“You really saw the Jordan brand become a luxury brand in the United States,” Powell told Business Insider. “It was our designer sneaker, and it made the shoes very visible, and that’s a big part of conspicuous consumption to be able to look across the room and see that that person’s wearing a $100 shoe, or $300 shoe in today’s parlance.”
However, the Jordan brand has encompassed American culture and solidified itself in every country that loves basketball, including the Philippines. Last May, the Jordan brand signed 27-year-old Kiefer Ravena, their first Filipino athlete, to join the roster of professional athletes they sponsor.
With the original price of the 2014 Jordan 1’s ballooning in resale price within just seven years, and the brand reaching significant global influence, we were intrigued to know how much the sneakers MJ actually wore in games are. Here are five pairs from Jordan’s sneaker collection, the rich stories behind them, and how much they sold for in auction house Sotheby’s.
Nike Air Jordan 1 High OG (1985) ‘Royal
In 1985, MJ appeared in a promotional campaign for Nike wearing Air Jordans in the “Royal” colorway. Unexpectedly, that photo shot in Oregon wildly piqued the public’s interests.
The image titled “Flight Guy” excited fans because instead of wearing the “Banned” version (red and black) that he’s usually in for NBA games, he picked Royal as it’s designed with his personal favorite colors.
The pair that was up for auction is the exact Air Jordan model from the poster and was sold for $12,600 (P621,700).
Playoff Game Worn and Signed Air Jordan VIII Black and Red
During MJ’s last NBA season before his first retirement in 1993—he returned to the Chicago Bulls two years later—he led his team to their third straight NBA championship. In addition, the 1992-1993 NBA season was when the superstar athlete became the first-ever player to win the Finals MVP award for a third consecutive time.
MJ wore this exact pair as one of the Air Jordan VII he laced up for a playoff game. And the sneaker even includes his signature in white ink. With that, the winning bid was expectedly staggering at $63,000 (P3,108,501).
Game Worn and Dual Signed Air Jordan 11 “Concord”
These black and white Jordans are another pair MJ wore during NBA games, this time in 1995-1996. It was his first complete season after coming back from retirement. However, he played like he never left as he averaged over 30 points per game. In effect, MJ would win his fourth NBA MVP title by leading the Bulls to 72 wins in-season.
“Best wishes, Michel Jordan” is signed on the shoe hand-written by MJ himself in the Air Jordan 11 in black marker. Currently, the shoes are not yet sold, and bidding is still unavailable. But as of writing, its starting bid will be at $42,000 (P2,071,383).
1991 NBA Finals Game 4 Signed Air Jordan High-Top
Now, let’s look back to when MJ won his first-ever NBA championship and Finals MVP award, at the beginning of the Bulls’ championship dynasty and MJ’s legendary status. In the last game of the 1991 finals, he led the Bulls to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1.
MJ initially gifted these Air Jordans he wore on the historical game night to Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro. “There are 10,000 pairs of Michael’s shoes: his first dunk, his first game, this one, that one, and they’re all valuable, and people save them,” Vaccaro told USA Today Sports. “But this was me and him 30 years ago, and I never thought I’d sell them, but it’s the right point and the right time.”
In 1984, before Nike had a foothold in basketball, Vaccaro is known as the man who pushed the brand to sign then 21-year-old rookie MJ. At first, he was hesitant but later agreed when Nike offered to let him launch a signature line. In 2019, the Jordan line made approximately $3.14 billion. The pair of sneakers that holds symbolism in NBA and Nike’s history was sold at $252,000 (P12,432,241).
1985-1986 Game Used Air Jordan Dunk Sole Sneakers
These classic red and white Air Jordan Dunks were worn by MJ in his second season in the NBA, following his Rookie of the Year campaign (1984-1985). Early into the tournament, the University of North Carolina graduate was temporarily benched due to a broken foot. Despite the setback, the Bulls won four of their final six games, and MJ still averaged 22.5 points by the end of his sophomore season.
The game-used sneakers feature signs of utilization with scratches and abrasions. In addition, this pair is one of only five pairs created. “PS” or Player Sample is printed on one of the shoes, which means it was not made for general release.
If the past four notable sneakers make you want one for yourself, fortunately, this pair of MJ’s sneakers is still open for bids. Be ready to shell out an excessive amount, though, as its estimated cost is from $600,000-$800,000 (P29,499,520-P39,337,348).
Banner from Sothebys.com and @jordanpippenrodman on Instagram.