he 2022 edition of Sotheby’s Modern Collectibles auction features a stunning array of cherished pop cultural artifacts, from a Supreme x Brooklyn Machine Works BMX cruiser owned by Eric Clapton to a 1986 GEM MT 10 Jordan Rookie Card — one of the most sought-after sports cards. Among the 37 objects at auction are several iconic basketball sneakers — many of them signed or worn in the games — ranging from classics like Converses worn by Dr. J. and Larry Bird to modern Louis Vuitton sneakers designed and signed by Virgil Abloh.
Virgil Abloh Signed and Designed Louis Vuitton ‘LV Trainer’
These Louis Vuitton ‘LV Trainers’ were designed and signed “Air Abloh” by Virgil Abloh. The vintage-inspired sneaker, a staple menswear sneaker, is brightly designed to be reminiscent of Miami sports teams.
Virgil Abloh Signed and Designed Nike Air Jordan 1 x OFF-WHITE Retro High OG ‘UNC’
Inspired by Michael Jordan’s alma mater, the University of North Carolina, the Nike Air Jordan 1 x OFF-WHITE Retro High OG ‘UNC’ features the Tar Heels’ signature blue and white colors. “OFF-WHITE for Nike” style is printed on the inner sidewalls, with Virgil Abloh’s signature writing “SHOELACES” and “AIR” on the shoelaces and midsole.
Drake Signed Nike Air Jordan 8 Retro ‘Ovo Black’
A collaboration between the Jordan Brand and Drake’s clothing line, OVO, gave us the Air Jordan 8 Retro ‘OVO Black,’ which reference the Air Jordan VIIIs worn by Michael Jordan during the 1992–93 season when he switched from white to ‘playoff’ black. The iconic shoe features anti-inversion cross straps, which Tinker designed inspired by trapeze artists’ high-wire acts.
Magic Johnson Game Sneakers | Converse Weapon PE | Attribution of Wear by MEARS
Magic Johnson, who accomplished virtually everything a player could dream of during his NBA career, is famously associated with the Converse Weapon silhouette — arguably one of his most iconic basketball sneakers. This pair worn during the 1985–86 season features a white, purple, and gold colorway, reflecting his 13-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Larry Bird Signed Game Sneakers | Converse Pro Canvas | Attribution of Wear by MEARS
This pair of Converse Pro Canvas sneakers was worn and signed by Hall of Famer Larry Bird, who played in them from 1980 to ’84, winning two championships. Bird’s work ethic, determination, and desire were the trademarks of the Celtics teams he led during the 1980s. This lot includes a 1981 Converse Basketball Encyclopedia featuring Larry Bird on the cover.
Julius ‘DR J’ Erving Signed Game Sneakers | Converse Pro Leather PE | Attribution of Wear by MEARS
This pair of Converse Pro Leather sneakers was worn by Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J.” Erving, who changed the game forever by bringing the field of play “above the rim.” Erving won three championships and four MVP awards and was named as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996.
Michael Jordan Signed Air Jordan XI ‘Columbia’ | Attribution of Wear by MEARS
This worn and signed pair of Air Jordan 11s was created by Tinker for the 1995–96 season, when Jordan won his fourth NBA MVP title. They were built for Michael’s hard cuts to help him avoid rolling his ankle during difficult movements. Additionally, the patent leather on the uppers of the shoe allowed Jordan to wear the sneakers with a suit.