Michael Jordan: Rare trainers to fetch at least $500,000 at auction

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Michael Jordan wore the Nike Air Jordan 1 sneakers for a memorable exhibition game in 1985

A pair of trainers worn by basketball legend Michael Jordan could fetch more than $500,000 (£380,000) at an online auction on Thursday.

The Nike Air Jordan 1 High sneakers, described as the “rarest of the rare”, were used by the Chicago Bulls star in an exhibition game in 1985.

In total, Christies is auctioning 11 pairs of Jordan’s shoes to celebrate his 14-year career with the team.

There is a big market for rare trainers and collectors can pay high prices.

Michael Jordan is considered to be best basketball player in the history of the game, and became a global icon in the 1980s and 1990s, helping to raise the NBA’s profile around the world.

A recent Netflix series, “The Last Dance,” has also renewed interest in his life.

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Michael Jordan – seen here in 1998 – is considered the greatest basketball player of all time

Christies said the collection, which is owned by US firm Stadium Goods, was the “greatest” lot of historic Michael Jordan footwear ever offered at one time.

All the shoes were made by Nike, which sponsored the player for much of his career.

The Air Jordan 1 High’s, which have an estimated sale price of $650,000- $850,000, are the top lot and have already attracted a $500,000 bid.

During the 1985 game in which they were used, Jordan memorably dunked the basketball so hard that it shattered the glass backboard.

Others up for sale include:

  • A pair of Brand Nike Air Ship sneakers worn during the player’s rookie season in 1984 ($350,000 – $550,000)
  • The Air Jordan 7 “Olympic” shoes worn when he led the US basket ball team to victory in the 1992 Olympics ($50,000 – $70,000)
  • A pair of classic Jordan 14s worn during practice for his final Bulls appearance in 1998 ($6,000 – $8,000).

“Put simply, Michael Jordan and his signature line of footwear set the foundation for modern basketball and the worldwide phenomenon of sneaker collecting,” Christies said.

The trainers – or sneakers – resale market has been valued at more than $1bn, and prized pairs can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Last year, Canadian entrepreneur Miles Nadal bought a collection of Nike, Adidas and Air Jordan sneakers auctioned by Sotheby’s for $850,000.

Carl Webb, a collector from Stoke-on-Trent who owns 170 pairs of vintage trainers, told the BBC’s Wake up to Money that it had a lot to do with nostalgia.

“Some people collect stamps, some people collect books, for me it’s rare trainers… Knowing you are one of the only people who will have a certain model feels quite nice.”

He said he paid up to £270 for trainers and had only worn 30 of the pairs he owns, keeping the rest on display in his house.

He said the price of a pair of trainers was usually determined by their “unavailability” and association with famous people or events.

“There is a resale market [for these shoes], people want to buy trainers even if they have been worn… And if you pick the right ones they will hold their value.”