A pair of basketball legend Michael Jordan’s famous Air Jordans from his rookie season sold at auction for $152,500 on Wednesday, the star item in Sotheby’s first international dedicated sneaker sale.
Seen as a niche interest 10 years ago, sneakers are now one of the fastest-growing markets at auctions, attracting attention from the general public as well as leading collectors.
The “Gamers Only” auction, conducted entirely online, featured 13 pairs of match-worn basketball shoes from some of the NBA’s greatest athletes, including Scottie Pippen and Shaquille O’Neal.
They went on show beforehand in Geneva and took their place alongside standout jewels, watches and handbags from Sotheby’s Luxury Week of sales in the lakeside Swiss city.
Nike Air Jordan 1s “not only changed basketball footwear forever but are also considered foundational to the development of sneaker culture”, Sotheby’s said.
The pair sold — in the Chicago Bulls’ red, white and black — were worn by Jordan during his stellar 1984-1985 debut season.