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“It’s gotta be the shoes.” That’s the famous line by Mars Blackmon/Spike Lee in the popular Nike commercials back in the 1980s promoting Air Jordan shoes. A pair of the original Air Jordan 1 shoes worn and autographed by Michael Jordan is on the auction block and available for purchase, from the world-renowned Sotheby’s.

Michael Jordan gets top dollar for memorabilia

While Michael Jordan memorabilia has seen an increase in popularity corresponding with the weeks-long broadcast of The Last Dance documentary, Jordan articles have long been considered prized possessions in the collectibles community, and the prices buyers are willing to pay bear that out.

One Michael Jordan card sold in 2018 for an impressive $94,630. The card, which was just one of 23, featured a small piece of the jersey Jordan wore during the 1992 NBA All-Star game. That particular Jordan card, with the inclusion of the jersey, was one of the first to do that, and it represented a dramatic shift in the card-collecting industry.

The price of the 2018 card paled in comparison to another Jordan card that sold in 2019 for a remarkable $350,100. The card, which was purchased on eBay, came from the 1997-98 Precious Metal Gems collection, which included a total of 100 copies, 10 of which were the green version, like the card sold, and the other 90 were red. 

Jersey from 1996-97 season up for auction

While Sotheby’s has jumped in on the Michael Jordan mania, another sports-specific auction company announced this week it was offering a 1996-97 Michael Jordan game-worn Chicago Bulls jersey. According to Goldin Auctions, this particular jersey is the only one to be offered for public sale that includes an authenticity letter from the Chicago Bulls

In addition to the letter, the jersey also will include a photo from the game showing it’s the actual jersey Jordan wore in the game, which was played on the road in Detroit on April 13, 1997. The Bulls lost 108-91. Jordan scored 18 points. 

The 1996-97 jersey is the most recent jersey on the auction block. On April 20, a Michael Jordan Dream Team jersey from the Barcelona Olympics sold for $216,000, according to Robert Edward Auctions. The jersey initially went up for auction on April 7 with a starting bid of $25,000.

Game-worn and autographed Air Jordan 1 shoes up for auction 

While a Jordan-worn jersey is a prized collectible, a pair of Michael Jordan shoes signed and worn by His Airness is considered one of the most valued pieces of Jordan memorabilia because it is symbolic of the player and the brand created so many years ago that generates an astonishing amount of revenue each year for Nike and Jordan.

Sotheby’s is auctioning the pair of Jordan’s game-worn and autographed Nike Air Jordan 1 shoes from the 1985 season, Jordan’s rookie year where he averaged 28.2 points per game and won Rookie of the Year honors. The shoes were made exclusively for Jordan, and feature a left shoe at size 13 and right shoe at size 13.5. Jordan wore mismatched shoes his entire career. 

The pair also differs from the one sold in stores as it includes red laces instead of black and white. This particular pair is also unique in that it is a mid-top shoe. In 1985, Nike only released highs and lows to the public. 

The auction runs through May 17 and Sotheby’s estimates the shoes will sell between $100,000-$150,000.