The One | MJ’s Air Jordan 1s

Online Auction: 8–17 May 2020 • New York
The One | MJ’s Air Jordan 1s 8–17 May 2020 • 12:00 PM EDT • New York
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Michael Jordan’s Game-Worn Autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s from 1985 sold for $560,000 – the new world auction record for any pair of sneakers, surpassing the previous record set at Sotheby’s for the Nike 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat ‘Moon Shoe’ sold for $437,500 in July 2019. Following a bidding war which drove the value up by $300,000 within the final twenty minutes of the sale, the pair achieved more than 3.5x their $150,000 high estimate. Bidders ranging from age 19 to 50+ participated across 4 continents, with 70% of bidders new to Sotheby’s.



S otheby’s is pleased to present The One | MJ’s Air Jordan 1s – an online auction of Michael Jordan’s game-worn and autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s from 1985. A Player Sample (PS), the shoes on offer were custom-made for Michael Jordan in sizes 13 and 13.5. Among the most valuable pairs of sneakers in history, these Air Jordan 1s are in remarkable condition, and were exclusively crafted for Jordan – featuring supple leather and a unique cut that was specific to MJ.

The Anatomy of MJ’s Air Jordan 1s
Click the red hotspots to dissect the shoes.
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  • The tagging reads 850204 TYPS. 850204 refers to the date of production. These shoes were made in 1985 between the months of February (02) and April (04). TYPS stands for Tong Yang Player Sample and refers to the fact that the shoes are Player Samples (PS). The regular Air Jordan 1s that were released to the public do not say TYPS on them (instead they simply abbreviate the factory where they were made).

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  • MJ’s shoes are Mids. In 1985 Nike released Highs and Lows to the public, but not Mids.

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  • MJ’s shoes are laced up with red laces – unlike the retail Air Jordan 1, which came with black and white laces. MJ occasionally laced up his Air Jordan 1s with red laces for a little flare (he wore red laces in his 63 point playoff performance at the Boston Garden arena).

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  • MJ’s Air Jordan 1s are made of different materials than the Air Jordan 1s that Nike released to the public. The leather is soft and buttery, as opposed to being stiff and hard. The collars are supple instead of crunchy.

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  • These shoes are in Michael Jordan’s unique size; the left shoe is a size 13 and the right shoe is a size 13.5. MJ wore mismatched shoe sizes throughout his career.

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  • The right shoe is autographed by Michael Jordan, with the signature appearing in black permanent marker. Many of MJ’s game-worn autographed shoes are signed with a ball point pen that wears away over time. The style of MJ’s signature is true to the era of when the shoes were made.

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  • Air Jordan 1s feature the first Nike Air Jordan logo, the ‘Air Jordan Wings’ logo, which was designed by Peter Moore. Original Air Jordan 1s also featured Swooshes on the uppers just like other Nikes. When Nike designed the Air Jordan 2, they removed the Swooshes and kept the Wings logo, and when Nike designed the Air Jordan 3, they replaced the Wings logo with the Jumpman logo, which quickly became the face of the brand. Interestingly, the Jumpman logo appeared on hangtags of retail pairs of Original Air Jordan 1s and Air Jordan apparel from 1985 but it did not appear on Air Jordan shoes until the Air Jordan 3.

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  • The soles exhibit signs of wear and many of the stars on the outsoles have worn off or are worn down, congruent with game wear. MJ wore Air Jordan 1s in 1984 and 1985, and modified versions in 1986. The first time that he laced up a pair of Air Jordan 1s was 11/17/84 against the Philadelphia 76ers. MJ wore Air Jordan 1s until October 29, 1985 when he broke his foot, causing him to miss 64 games. Upon his return, Michael did wear Air Jordan 1s, however they were further modified for Michael.

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The vintage originals are in the Chicago Bulls white, black and red – the Air Jordan 1 colorway that Michael Jordan wore the most often on the court. In 1984, Nike gave Jordan a signature line of shoes and clothes – a crucial, unprecedented move to entice Michael Jordan to sign with Nike. Produced between February and April 1985, Jordan wore the present pair of Air Jordan 1s during an early, pivotal point of his career and thus catapulted the sneaker’s popularity.

Reliving the Career of Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan’s Game Worn Autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s, 1985. Sold $560,000.
Images from left to right: Michael Jordan’s Game Worn Autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s from 1985.

Did You Know?

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, therefore forbidding Jordan from wearing them. Nike responded by creating an ad campaign around Jordan’s banned shoes, remarking that while “the NBA threw them out of the game, fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.” The Air Jordan 1s were created in the wake of the famous banned Nike ad campaign, and established MJ as the league's leader in shoe style.

The Last Dance, A Documentary Miniseries on the 1997–98 Chicago Bulls
The Last Dance

The Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” is a 10-part series that examines the Chicago Bulls’ final championship season in 1997-1998. That year, the team was followed by an NBA Entertainment film crew; for this reason, ESPN was able to capture exclusive footage that fans can now access today.

Available on ESPN and Netflix, the documentary miniseries features interviews of more than more than 100 players, coaches, journalists and fans who witnessed the incredible final season. The season finale aired on May 17, 2020, which coincided with the last day Michael’s Air Jordan 1s were available at Sotheby's.

Watch the Miniseries


The successful buyer will be contacted to discuss options for shipment and collection of property – please note that global shipments are currently experiencing delays. While our New York building is currently closed, our staff is available to assist you at any time; please see the contact information for the sale.

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