Michael Jordan- the legend. Six Air Jordan shoes worn by him during 'Championship clinching' NBA games are going to be in Dubai. They are up for a private sale. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: For its latest exhibition in Dubai, Sotheby’s is putting up the ‘Air Jordan’ – and six of them in fact with some heavy legacy backing them. They were worn by uber-star Michael Jordan from each of his NBA title clinching finals for the Chicago Bulls.

They are being offered as a ‘private sale’ by the auction house in Dubai, billing the offering as the ‘holy grail of sneaker collecting’.

“The set represents the most valuable and significant collection of Air Jordan sneakers ever brought to market, and also marks the first time an auction house has travelled sneakers to the Middle East,” said Sotheby’s, which is billing these six pairs as 'The Dynasty Collection'. (Quite befitting, one can say...)

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"The Dynasty Collection check all of the boxes that a collector wants - Championship history, Hall of Fame association, and style," said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear & Modern Collectibles. "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."

In late 1984, Nike produced the first Air Jordan model – the Air Jordan I – for Michael Jordan to use during his rookie season with the Bulls. The model was released to the public in 1985. (Pre-owned Air Jordan remain the rage, fetching some fancy prices with fans and collectors of memorabilia.)

Choosing Dubai to land the Air Jodan
"Dubai is an area where we are very excited to expand our reach, especially our sneaker business. More than half of our buyers in this department are under the age of 40, and given that the Middle East has a young collector base with much interest in sneakers, we are thrilled to unveil the Dynasty Collection here. And confident that this is only the beginning of Sotheby’s sneaker presence in Dubai..."

- Brahm Wachter of Sotheby’s

A legacy superstar

Michael Jordan sports memorabilia continues to 'smash records' whenever they come to the market. In September last, Sotheby’s sold his 1998 NBA Finals Game 1 jersey, from the ‘Last Dance’ season, for $10.1 million.

"This set a new record for a basketball jersey at auction, a record for any game-worn sports memorabilia, as well as the most valuable item of Michael Jordan sports memorabilia ever to be sold," said Wachter. "Sotheby’s also holds the world auction record for a pair of sneakers for Michael Jordan’s Regular Season Game Worn Nike Air Ships, which sold for $1,472,000 in fall 2021.

"Every sports lover around the world will be familiar with these shoes and their unique position in the history of basketball given the legend who wore them. They are a direct reflection on Michael Jordan cementing his G.O.A.T. status, as well as how he evolved into a pop culture icon."

All-time brand icon

As with Michael, the Nike 'Air Jordan' is one of the most iconic brands in 'streetwear and basketball'.

"Sotheby’s has an established history of selling some of the most coveted pairs of Nike Air Jordans to appear on the market," said Wachter. "We have established new benchmarks for collectable sneakers, including the earliest known Michael Jordan Regular Season Game Worn Nikes – the Nike Air Ships, which sold for $1.5 million in October 2021 – establishing a world auction record for a pair of sneakers."

Private sales and auctions
The Air Jordan 'six' will be sold through a 'private sale', which are held outside the regular auction calendar. These offer collectors the 'freedom to acquire rare works any day of the year, according to Sotheby's. They are about providing our clients with even more choice, flexibility, transparency and discretion and, in theory, any item from across any category can be sold privately at Sotheby’s, and at multiple price points too.
Just as Sotheby’s is rapidly expanding its reach, attracting new clients and younger demographics, it is also expanding the scope of its offerings and the channels via which collectors can transact. ‘Private sales’ are a key component of this, complementing the auction business and providing collectors – established and new – with a broader menu of opportunities to transact.
In recent years, Private Sales have become ever more public. Just as we stage auctions both physically and virtually, private sales are often displayed in our galleries all over the world, and indeed online on our website where we have many offerings listed. That said, some sales do remain very private in the traditional sense, it simply depends on the client!
They are an increasingly popular way to transact at Sotheby’s, with a record number of buyers to private sales last year. This in turn generated over $1.35 billion of Private sales worldwide - second only to 2020’s record $1.6 billion year.

More to follow...