Just like other sports collectibles, the sneakers are also weighed in millions of dollars. And right now I’m going to talk about the world’s most expensive Jordans, the most valuable sneakers released by the Nike under the brand name Air Jordans.
But first, let me give you a short review that how the story of these exceptionally most expensive air Jordans begins. Be with me!
It was 1984, the year when the great Michael Jordan (MJ) was busy in his pregame warm-ups at The Forum (Inglewood, California). A Los Angeles Lakers ball boy named Khalid Ali comes to Michael Jordan and says,”Hey! Mr. Jordan can I have your shoes after the game?“. Jordan looked at his face and replied, “You know what, I’m not wearing these shoes tonight. But I’m gonna wear some other shoes during the game and I let you have those.”
The game starts, Jordan rocked the show and after the game, he signed the pair of Nike Air Ship sneakers and gave it to Ali in his locker room.
Essentially, these were the shoes that lead Michael Jordan to wear Nike’s most expensive Jordans during all of his career afterward. And perhaps also the moment when people started asking basketball players for their game-worn shoes and other memorabilia.
Nike Air Ship 1984 (Sneakers before Air Jordans) –$71,553
These are the only known, earliest game-worn sneakers in the history. Sold in an auction held on April 8, 2015, by SCP Auctions.
Although, there were expectations that this shoe will bring up to $50,000 bids but unexpectedly it worked more than that and sold for $71,000. This way it becomes the third highest paid game-worn pair of sneakers and the most expensive basketball shoes by the Nike Inc.
The new owner is anonymous, as he/she wished not to share his/her identity, says Terry Melia from SCP Auctions.
Nike’s Most Expensive Jordans List
In December 1984, Jordan signed a 2.5 million contract with Nike and switched wearing Air Jordans to the full.
And because the Michael Jordan’s signature shoes ‘Air Jordans’ were performing pretty great (Nike have had sold a stock of worth $70 million from March-May 1985), the Air Ships eventually pushed back and the expensive Air Jordans took their place forever.
Below is the list of top 10 most expensive jordans so far.
10. Air Jordan 6 (1991 NBA Playoffs) – $7,000
Also referred as Air Jordan 6 Infrared, Air Jordan 6 black or sometimes with both Air Jordan 6 black/infrared. This is the single example of its kind among all other most expensive jordans that the shoe is not even in a good condition due to the heavy use, yet received huge bids when listed for the auction.
They got importance because they were worn during Michael Jordan’s very first NBA championship victory. The match that was played between Chicago Bulls (Jordan’s team) and Los Angeles Lakers.
This autographed pair of game-used pair of Air Jordans was auctioned on February 27, 2016, at Lynbrook, N.Y. By the Philip Weiss Auctions.
9. Air Jordan 5 (1990 Eastern conference finals) – $20,000
As the title suggests, Michael Jordan wore these sneakers in the game 3 of 1990 Eastern Conference Finals.
People also remember this pair of game-worn most expensive Air Jordans as Whitney Houston Air Jordan. She was a friend of him and Michael Jordan himself gifted her this pair of air Jordan 5 in 1990.
The auction for this pair was held on Jun 24, 2016, at Beverly Hills, California by Heritage Auctions. The bid started with $10,000 and sold at $20,000.
8. Air Jordan 7 (1992 Dream team “Olympic”) – $20,130
Worn in 1992’s Olympic Games held in Barcelona, Spain. Best remembered as Air Jordan 7 1992 Dream Team “Olympic” Bulls-Detroit Pistons.
Chicago Business reported an auction held for a signed pair of game-worn Air Jordan 7 “Olympic” by SCP Auctions previous year. According to them, the shoes were previously owned by a former Pistons ball boy who consigned it to SPC Auctions for the sale. It was sold for $12,544.
A similar pair of Nike Air Jordan 7 Olympic “Dream Team” was also auctioned by Robert Edward Auctions before. The starting bid was $1000 and it was sold for $2,115 only at the closing bid.
They say this was exclusively produced for the great Michael Jordan to wear at 1992 Summer Olympics. And Because the pair was in his personal use (not used in the game) that’s why it couldn’t attract a huge bid and more bidders.
This year, another similar pair was also observed hitting another auction house. The auction was held by Goldin Auctions. They explained that the shoes were owned by a teammate of Michael Jordan who wished to hide his identity and to stay anonymous for the public.
The lot received 15 bids, with a realized price $20,130 and an estimated price $25,000 making it one of the most expensive jordans in the world.
7. Air Jordan 1 (Rookie season 1984-1985) – $21,780
This one was also used in the game, worn in Michael Jordan’s rookie season 1984-1985 by Michael Jordan himself.
Auctioned by a Westhampton, N.Y based auction house Grey Flannel Auctions. The director of the house confirmed the auction and the price of this game-worn rookie air Jordan.
6. Air Jordan 3 (Drake VS Lil Wayne) – $25,000
Essentially, the pair of Air Jordan 3 Drake VS Lil Wayne was produced as a promo sample exclusively for the rappers, mentioned in the title.
And because this edition wasn’t open to public ever, hence, it gets its rarity and the sneaker/music lovers are willing to pay a huge amount of money on these unpacked, unused and totally new air Jordans 3.
The stated amount was paid in an open auction listed on eBay. That put a simple $65 worth air Jordan sneaker in the class of most valuable, the most expensive jordans.
5. Air Jordan 4 (Eminem X Carhartt) – $30,100
Unlike other game worn air Jordans listed in here, the fame of this most expensive Nike Air Jordan is slightly different. This sneaker belongs to the limited edition of Eminem Nike air Jordans.
“It is believed that there were only 300 pieces in total (of Air Jordan 4) were produced. And this auction was the only time/way when it was possible for the public to have those highly rare Air Jordan sneakers”, says Paul Rosenberg. Who is Eminem’s manager, having his roots back to Detroit, Michigan.
Auctioned on eBay, the last year in November. Basically, this auction was held to raise the money for the Michigan State University’s music department.
There was a lot 10 pairs of Air Jordan 4. The one (Air Jordan 4) in question here, was produced with the collaboration of Carhartt. And hence, it was thought to be one of the rarest pieces of basketball collectibles. That is why it received the highest bid among other Air Jordan 4s.
4. Air Jordan 1 (Rookie season 1984-1985) – $31,070
This is the number second (from the rookie season) included in this list of most expensive Jordans. Worn by the great Michael Jordan during his earliest career one way or the other.
Air Jordan 1 is the longest tale in the golden era of basketball’s history. Especially, the notable part is the one that is most talked about and most praised or hated. You have had guessed so far, yes, NBA tried to ban this sneaker due to the violation of the uniform code.
They got many reasons for that but the most obvious one was the absence of some colors over the others in the shoes. Don’t worry, it didn’t really make sense to a majority of the basketball fans and analysts so it’ll not make sense to you too.
3. Air Jordan 11 (NBA championship 1995-1996) – $34,000
This dual signed sneaker was listed by SCP Auctions. It is believed that Michael Jordan gifted his sneakers to Eric Snow after the game. And so, these are the original Air Jordans 11 from NBA championship 1995-1996 72-10 Season.
Michael Jordan wore these shoes in the game 3 of NBA Finals 1996 during his MVP (Most Valuable Player) campaign. An important NBA event, also the most important one for MJ.
2. Air Jordan 10 Retro (Drake designed OVO) – $100,000
Just like the Air Jordan 3 here, these are the new, unworn, unused and the most expensive jordans in the list.
“Unreleased Drake designed OVO Air Jordan 10 Retro, said the former owner. Further says, he received the pair of OVO Air Jordan 10 Retro directly from the singer on Drake night at the Toronto Raptors-Brooklyn Nets games. And that he (Drake) was also seen wearing the same pair during that night.
There were two lucky fans who received OVO Air Jordans from Drake. And I guess both of them put their gifts (sneakers) on eBay. But the one I’m talking about right now received 92 bids and the winner got it all on a realized price of $100,000.
1. Air Jordan 12 (1997 NBA Finals “Flu Games”) – $104,765
These red and black colored sneakers were used in 1997 NBA finals (Flu Games) by the legend Michael Jordan.
‘Flu Games’ is graded among Michael Jordan’s 50 greatest moments by the sports channel ESPN. Michael Jordan played this game with the flu and 103°temperature.
Jordan’s performance in the game 5 gave his team (Bulls) an edge against the opponents, Utah Jazz. MJ’s coach Phil Jackson said in his remarks that it was one of the best performance by MJ that he had seen.
Auction for autographed pair of sneakers, Air Jordan 12 1997 NBA Finals “Flu Games” held on December 12, 2013, by Grey Flannel Auctions. It was sold for $104,765 which is the highest price ever paid for any sports’ game-used shoes. Making it the most expensive air Jordan so far.
As the Michael Russek, director operations Grey Flannel Auctions said about the Air Jordan 12, “the most expensive jordans pair of game-used footwear that anyone has ever sold. It just smashed the record.”
It was owned by a Utah Jazz Ex-ball-boy, Preston Truman. The story how Preston Truman (Ball Boy) managed to win MJ’s sneakers is also very interesting.
At first, Jordan even refused to give out autographs on not finding his favorite applesauce. Says, “No autographs for ball boys after the game if I don’t get my applesauce.” Truman somehow arranged applesauce to fulfill Jordan’s wish. And on NBA finals, Jordan was again presented with graham crackers and applesauce (his favorite food) in his locker room. Jordan felt happy and said, “You remembered? That’s my guy right there.”
And this was the winning moment for the Preston Truman when he asked for the future’s most expensive jordans to Michael Jordan. And After the game, Jordan stopped his equipment manager John Ligmanowsk from fetching his shoes and gave them to the ball boy Preston Truman.