S otheby’s presents Nike SB | 20 Years, a celebration of the highly popular Nike Skateboarding brand and its influence on sneaker culture. Originally released in 1985 for basketball, the popularity of Dunks with skateboarders led to the launch of the SB line in 2002. Featuring some of the rarest Nike SB Dunks in the brand’s history, this auction brings together 100 lots in our most diverse offering yet.
The Nike SB Dunk made its formal debut in 2002, when Nike officially reworked the famed Dunk basketball sneaker originally designed in the 1980s with upgrades suited for the skateboarding community. The man behind it, former Nike executive Sandy Bodecker, is credited with building one of Nike’s most beloved subdivisions in the early 2000s with the Nike SB line.
Available for Immediate Purchase
What sets Nike SB apart from other competitive brands is the unbridled creativity, collaborators, materials, and whimsical highly thematic designs that define a generation of sneakerheads. Nike has explored hundreds of concepts – often with a sense of humor – through its Nike SB Dunks. From designs that range from beer bottles, to guitar cases, to horror films, jewelry, animals, arts and cities – the Dunks represent some of the most beloved and creative models for the brand.
Nike SB Dunk High Pro ‘FLOM’ with Signed Box and Skateboard Deck
One of only 24 in the world, and part of an even smaller group in unworn condition, this is perhaps the most coveted Dunk of all. The last time Sotheby’s sold a FLOM, it broke the at-the-time world record for a Nike Dunk, selling for $63,000.
Brooklyn local Leonard Hilton McGurr, known as Futura, is one of the founding fathers of the graffiti movement in New York. Futura started his career in the 1970s tagging subway walls as Futura 2000, and he belongs to a notable group of artists that came out of New York City during this period, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Dondi White. This particular work, ‘FLOM,’ an acronym meaning ‘For Love or Money,’ encompasses a pattern that was created from different denominations of printed money.
Nike SB Dunk Low Pro ‘Paris’ Bernard Buffet Promo Sample
One of the most popular and recognizable Nike Dunks in existence, this extremely rare pair is a Sample of the famous ‘Paris’ SB Dunk. Approximately 200 pairs of the regular release were made for Nike’s traveling White Dunk Exhibition in 2003, an exhibit that featured several extremely limited SB Dunks created for the tour’s host cities. This pair in ‘Rope/Special Cardinal’ colors (utilizing tan-suede) represents Paris and features canvas overlays containing the artwork of French painter Bernard Buffet. As the canvas on each pair was cut differently, each pair of Paris SB Dunks is unique. These Dunks are extraordinarily unusual as they are a promo sample, making them far rarer than the regular release.
Nike Dunk Hi Orchard Street ‘Brazil’
A custom by streetwear store Orchard Street has landed itself amongst some of the greatest Dunks, and not least for its unusual build. In the summer of 2003, Orchard Street reworked 40 pairs of Dunk Highs. Each was reworked into orange, green and black, while a portion of the rear flaps were carved out to let the orange pop on this model. What will be remembered most of the Orchard Street Dunk, is the release. Greig Bennett, co-founder of the brand, made the pairs available only through physically finding them across New York. Pairs were placed on streetlamps and traffic lights and were supposed to be kept there and left forever – however, it became apparent that the dedicated sneaker and fashion community were committed enough to scale these heights in order to secure them. Due to its incredibly limited quantities and exclusive nature of its release, these are some of the most sought-after custom Dunks in circulation.
Nike SB Dunk Low Pro Reese Forbes ‘Denim’
Considered one of the most sought-after pairs from its era, Reese Forbes’s second ever Nike SB was reportedly limited to just 444 pairs. Designed in partnership with skateboarder Natas Kaupas. It features two shades of Indigo denim with frayed detailing throughout – all housed atop a contrasting red outsole that channels the Americana aesthetic.
The Stories Behind Coveted SB Dunks
One of the features that make Nike Dunks so intriguing to the global sneaker community is their playful nature, and the creative and highly thematic stories that mark the designs. Some examples include:
- Nike SB Dunk Low Premium 'Gibson'
- Nike SB Dunk Low Pro Concepts ‘Holy Grail’
- Nike SB Dunk Low Pro ‘Heineken’
- Nike SB Dunk Low Premium 'Ms. Pac-Man'
Nike SB Dunk Low Premium 'Gibson' | Size 9.5This Nike SB design takes inspiration from the famous American instrument manufacturer Gibson - most well known for their guitars and guitar accessories. This specific pair is not modelled after the guitar, but more interestingly the guitar case. The upper is a predominant brown build in a tumbled leather which mimics the brown leather case, but with a striking pink lining which would protect the valuable guitar from scratches while being transported.
Nike SB Dunk Low Pro Concepts ‘Holy Grail’ | Size 11.5The concept, sneakers and box, play on the concept of the ‘Holy Grail’.
Nike SB Dunk Low Pro ‘Heineken’ | Size 10.5Nicknamed and themed after the Dutch beer company, the ‘Heineken’ SB was not an official collaboration. Due to alleged legal issues between Nike SB and Heineken the production of these pairs were halted and never saw a wide release despite the major fanfare for the Dunk in 2003.
Nike SB Dunk Low Premium 'Ms. Pac-Man' | Size 12In 2009, Nike SB revisited a nostalgic theme with Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man styled sneakers, based on the world-famous 1980’s arcade game.