Six championship Air Jordan sneakers will be privately sold by Sotheby’s, where they are expected to bring in millions of dollars.
The shoes, referred to as the “Dynasty Collection,” were worn by Michael Jordan in six NBA games during the 1990s where the iconic player led the Chicago Bulls to the championship title and was named the Finals’ MVP. All six shoes were designed by Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and will be unveiled in Dubai on February 28.
“These shoes are like the Mona Lisa, the David and a few of Monet’s Water Lilies rolled into one,” wrote Jacob Gallagher, the Wall Street Journal‘s men’s fashion columnist, who broke the news of the sale.
Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles Brahm Wachter called the collection “the sole-defining ‘holy grail’” of collecting for its encapsulation of NBA championship history, style, and Hall of Fame association.
“Worn in each of the six unforgettable games that secured the Bulls’ dynasty status, this collection’s overwhelming influence on pop culture and basketball is undeniable as these shoes simultaneously combine Jordan’s legacy, domination, and stardom,” Wachter wrote in a statment.
In addition to autographs from Jordan, the Air Jordan VIII from 1993 sports the final score of the Bulls versus the Phoenix Suns and the words “Our LAST Fucking Game!” The Jordan VI from 1991 has cracked and yellowed foam at the sole.
According to Sotheby’s, the shows mark “the most valuable and significant collection of Air Jordan sneakers ever brought to market.”
Experts told the WSJ it would be difficult to estimate what the set of Air Jordans could sell for, but rapidly growing interest in Jordan memorabilia and eye-watering prices for rare sneakers could push the lot to well above eight figures.
A major factor in the current level of Jordan interest is The Last Dance, ESPN’s 10-part documentary about Jordan’s last season with the Bulls. After receiving critical acclaim in 2020, it won an Primetime Emmy award. One of the shoes featured in the documentary is included in the “Dynasty Collection.”
Interest in the secondary market for rare and highly sought-after sneakers also rapidly grew during the pandemic as an alternative investment to stocks, bonds, and fine art.
Only a few months after The Last Dance aired on ESPN, ARTnews writer Christina Binkley reported that Sotheby’s sold 100 pairs of old sneakers at auction for $1.29 million in July, “including 1972 Nike track cleats that more than doubled the previous record for a pair of athletic shoes.” Canadian investor Miles Nadal said he planned to display the shoes in his private museum in Toronto and told Sotheby’s, “I think sneaker culture and collecting is on the verge of a breakout moment.”
That figure was soon eclipsed by three sales of Jordan memorabilia. In October 2021, Sotheby’s auctioned a pair of signed Air Ships, the earliest pair of regular season Nike shoes Jordan wore in a game in 1984, for $1.47 million. That same year, a jersey from Jordan’s career at the University of North Carolina sold for $1.38 million at Heritage Auctions in New York. In 2022, a jersey Jordan wore during the opening game of the 1998 NBA finals was sold by Sotheby’s for $10.1 million.
The financial press has been closely watching this rapid evolution in sales among auction houses and online resellers like StockX. In February 2021, a Bloomberg Businessweek feature declared that “Sneakerheads have turned Jordans and Yeezys into a bona fide asset class.”
The sale of the “Dynasty Collection” in Dubai is also happening prior to the April 5 release of Air, a biographical film about how the Nike salesman Sonny Vaccaro pursued a partnership with Michael Jordan in the 1980s. The film is directed by Ben Affleck and stars Matt Damon and Viola Davis.