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    Almost certainly worn in February 17, 1985 game at Milwaukee

    1984-85 Michael Jordan Rookie Game Worn & Signed Rare Black-Toed Air Jordan I Single Sneaker, MEARS Authentic. The most recognizable sneaker ever manufactured? Well, yes and no. Certainly the inaugural edition of the Air Jordan line that has dominated the industry since the days Mike was ringless is known from the most devout sneakerhead to the squarest suburban mom, but only the former would spot the subtle variation that makes the offered model one of the holiest of grails to that demographic.

    Here we find one of the earliest steps in the evolution of that iconic footwear, a style that never made it into retail production and appears only a literal handful of times in period photography. The most famous photo of the black-toed Jordan I's was utilized in creation of the "Jumpman" poster that adorned thousands of childhood bedrooms during the Reagan era, picturing the ascendant legend set against the orange and purple glow of a Chicago skyline sunset. The silhouette of that wide-legged dunk would become as recognizable as that of Jerry West in the NBA logo. There is also a wonderful image of a sweaty Jordan posing with a pair on a playground court, the pair dangling by its laces from his left hand.

    The precise number of times that Jordan wore this style in competition is unknown, but most experts place the number at five or fewer. We include a modern print of a photograph of Jordan wearing what almost certainly is this exact shoe, snapped on February 17, 1985 at the MECCA in a visit to the Milwaukee Bucks. Jordan led all scorers that evening with twenty-six points in a 125-105 Bulls loss.

    The evidence for this particular attribution relates to its derivation from the head of maintenance at the Capitol Court Mall in Milwaukee, which was demolished in 2001. For years, ball boys for both the Bucks and visiting squads would visit the shoe store "Playmakers" in the mall and trade game worn shoes received from players for new pairs, enhancing a store display museum where single game worn shoes (to save room) were displayed for passing shoppers. Ultimately, this collection ended up in boxes in the crumbling basement of the mall, rescued by the maintenance man days before the building was reduced to rubble. Our consignor is that man's son-in-law.

    Interior ankle coding, "13 BH-110884-TY," tells us that the proper size thirteen shoe was manufactured on November 8, 1984, making this the earliest documented Air Jordan gamer ever to surface. Blue foam insert remains inside. The shoe is signed twice but the ink has faded considerably over the passage of thirty-five years. The "My Very Best" salutation we encounter only appears on very early Jordan autographs.

    Unquestionably one of the most exciting Jordan items to surface in recent memory, this offering represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the advanced collector. By nearly every metric of evaluation for Air Jordans, this is as good as it gets. LOA from MEARS, Authentic. Letter of provenance from Capitol Court maintenance worker. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Guide Value or Estimate: $20,000 - up.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2019
    23rd-24th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 12,647

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