Michael Jordan | Shattered
Online Auction: 18 November–3 December 2020 • 2:00 PM EST • New York

Michael Jordan | Shattered 18 November–3 December 2020 • 2:00 PM EST • New York

S otheby’s is pleased to present Michael Jordan | Shattered, an online auction of Michael Jordan memorabilia, led by Jordan’s historic game worn and signed ‘Shattered Backboard’ jersey. The auction presents a stunning assemblage of Michael Jordan memorabilia, including a 1985 game worn and signed pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s, a perfect Beckett Black Label Michael Jordan signed Upper Deck trading card, multiple deadstock Air Jordan releases, and more.

Michael playing in Liga A for Stefanel Trieste, wearing this incredible and custom No. 23 orange-and-black Stefanel Trieste jersey.

After an unbelievable NBA Rookie of the Year season, Michael Jordan – in late August of 1985 – traveled to Trieste Italy for an exhibition game sponsored by Nike. Michael played in Liga A for Stefanel Trieste, and donned this incredible and custom No. 23 orange-and-black Stefanel Trieste jersey.

The game is best remembered as the “Shattered Backboard” game, as the most memorable part of Jordan’s 30 point performance came when Michael – almost flying towards the net – dunked the ball with so much power and force that the entire backboard erupted, spraying shards of glass all over the court.

The moment has inspired some of Nike’s most popular Air Jordan 1 releases and is one of the brand’s most coveted colorways.

The MeiGray Group (“MGG”) in association with Sotheby’s went through extraordinary lengths to authenticate the jersey which has provenance from Carlo Stefanel. MeiGray explained, “MeiGray’s authentication process began when the jersey arrived in our office and we were able to compare photographs from during and after the game to the actual jersey. MGG compared the alignment of the crest, number, colored piping, team name and advertising patch on the front of the jersey. Not only did the alignment match exactly, but the imprecise positioning of the crest that was evident in today’s examination matched the photos of Mr. Jordan from 35 years ago. We believe this misalignment created a large puffy crease on the logo. This crease was also evident in today’s examination… and in photos from the event.”

 Michael Jordan's Game Worn and Signed 1985 Air Jordan 1s 

The Nike “Air Jordan” is one of the most iconic designs in the history of both streetwear and basketball, and is a key part of the origin of the Air Jordan brand for Nike. Designed by Peter Moore, Michael Jordan wore Air Jordan 1s in 1984 and 1985, as well as modified versions in 1986 (after a broken foot Michael endured). These specific shoes are the iconic ‘Chicago’ colorway, and perhaps the most recognizable for Michael, as well as the Nike brand.

In 1984, Nike gave Michael Jordan his own signature line of shoes and clothes, which was pivotal in Michael agreeing to sign with Nike. It was the first time the brand did anything like this, and it paved the way for many of the player collaborations we now see. The term “Air Jordan” was coined by Michael Jordan’s agent David Falk. David apparently came up with name because Nike shoes had air in the soles and because, of course, Michael Jordan played basketball in the air.

Reliving the Career of Michael Jordan

In terms of the shoe itself, the original Air Jordan 1s were so popular and successful that Nike continued to make new signature Air Jordans each season. This tradition continued beyond Michael’s retirement, and Nike is currently on the Air Jordan 35. From the day it launched, Air Jordans have always represented the pinnacle of sneaker design. The shoes are unmatched when it comes to quality, craftsmanship, materials, innovation, performance, and of course style.

The coding on the inside of the shoes states "850102 TYPS.” 850102 refers to the date of production. These shoes were made in 1985 between the months of January (01) and February (02). TYPS stands for “Tong Yang Player Sample” and means that the shoes are ‘Player Samples,’ produced from the 'Tong Yang' factory.

The sale also includes an incredible set of pristine deadstock pairs of Air Jordan 1s from 1985, as well as a deadstock pair of the coveted Nike Air Ships, the precursor the Air Jordan 1.

In 1984, Michael Jordan’s black and red shoes (Air Ships) became controversial after the NBA sent a letter to Nike in February of 1985 informing the company that Jordan’s colorful shoes were a violation of the league’s uniformity of uniform clause. Nike responded by creating an ad campaign around Jordan’s ‘banned’ shoes (during which they advertised Air Jordans instead), remarking that while “the NBA threw them out of the game, fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.”

The Air Jordan brand was created in the wake of the famous banned Nike ad campaign, and established MJ as the league's leader in shoe style.

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