Sotheby’s is honored to collaborate with sneakerhead and NFL Super Bowl Champion, Victor Cruz, for our Nike anniversary fifty auction. A past Nike collaborator (Air Trainer Cruz), the passionate collector – who himself boasts a sizable collection north of 300 pairs – has handpicked a personal edit of his favorite sneakers distinguished not only by their rarity, but the unique stories behind them.
"Sneakers are culturally relevant pieces of art and timestamps that bring us back to different moments and memories in our lives.”
One of Victor's picks is a rare promo sample of the Nike Air Jordan 3 made in commemoration of ‘Victory Lap’, Nipsey Hussle’s first studio album released in 2018. Reminiscent of the Air Jordan 3 Black Cement, the pair features a predominantly black leather upper, the iconic Air Jordan 3 Nike elephant print, and Nike Jordan branding on the heel.
On February 16, 2018. Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) released his first studio album ‘Victory Lap’. The album was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2019 Grammy’s and in 2021, ‘Victory Lap’ reached a milestone of 100 weeks on the Billboard 200 list.
Victory Lap ‘VL’ branding can be found near the medial collar of each shoe, and the Air Jordans also features a translucent outsole with red VL branding.
“Nipsey had a huge influence on me, not just for his music, but for his ideas and the way he went about his life and what he represented. He was always trying to bring his community forward, so I wanted to pay tribute to him by having this shoe as part of the auction.”
The Nike Air Jordan 3 is credited with keeping Michael Jordan at Nike after the original Air Jordans designer, Peter Moore, left the company. Tinker Hatfield designed the shoe in close collaboration with Jordan, addressing the player’s request for a more lightweight, modern shoe. The Nike Air Jordan 3, notably, is the first Air Jordan to feature "Visible Air" in the form of an air pocket under the heel. Though just in the beginning of his career, Tinker Hatfield would soon become one of the most influential sneaker designers of all time.