New York Daily News
This is some rarefied air — even for Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.
A one-of-a-kind pair of the unworn 1985 prototype for the game-changing Air Jordan 1 sneaker hits the auction block this Tuesday with an expected price of more than $400,000, the top item among a classic collection of vintage high-profile shoes up for bidding.
“Jordan remains THE name,” said Armen Salemi, the head of Heritage Auctions sneaker division. “Anything with Jordan’s name is going to fly off the shelves. There’s such a crazy demand.”
The sneaker division’s debut auction includes close to 100 shoes, including a rare pair belonging to the late Kobe Bryant and three pairs of the hard-to-find Louis Vuitton X Nike Lows inspired by New York hip-hop duo Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock.
“It began as an urban thing, then translated into the hip-hop look as fashion,” said Salemi. “Hip-hop played a big role in streamlining from one into the other.”
But the Jordan shoe is above and beyond, much like the Hall of Famer and six-time NBA champion himself. The game-changing Jordan brand set off a feeding frenzy for his line of sneakers, turning the legendary hoopster into an international marketing phenomenon.
And this is the footwear that kicked it all off.
The vintage sneakers come with a letter of authenticity from their late designer Peter Moore, who sketched the initial design on a cocktail napkin aboard an airplane. A plane captain handing a pair of plastic wings to a kid boarding the flight inspired the use of wings on the new shoes, and Moore had some thoughts of his own.
“One of my ideas with MJ was to break some rules, do things different,” wrote Moore, who died this past April, in the letter. “Shoes up until then had to be black or white … I decided MJ would break the color barrier. He would wear a three-color shoe — white, black and red, the colors of the Chicago Bulls.”
The auction also includes 23 pairs of the 2017 Air Jordan Retro High Breds, shared by Jordan with family and friends.
Other footwear rarities include a one-of-a-kind pair of Nike Air Force 1 Kobe Bryant sneakers, made exclusively for the late Lakers star and Hall of Famer. Tags inside the shoe and on the underside of the box make it clear the sneakers were made expressly for Kobe.
And then there’s the so-called greatest sneaker never made: The “Nike SB Dunk Low Freddy Krueger,” a product killed by a legal stake to the heart.
Back in 2007, Nike planned a triple-header of footwear horror with shoes inspired by classic films “Dawn of the Dead,” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.”
The last one died a less than gruesome death, shut down by a cease and desist order from movie-maker New Line Cinema over alleged copyright violations. Only about 30 pairs survived the ensuing legal horror story.