1985-86 Michael Jordan Game Worn & Signed Air Jordan I Sneakers with Post-Injury Modification. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated just over a month into his 1984-85 NBA rookie season under the banner, "A Star is Born," the former Tarheel's high-flying style earning fans even in opposing arenas. Though the enormous attention assigned to the twenty-two-year old phenom saw him frozen out by his All-Star Game teammates, veterans like Isiah Thomas, Dr. J and Larry Bird who purportedly refused to pass to the rookie sensation out of jealousy, Jordan shook off the apparent slight and returned to dominate the second half of the regular season, running away with NBA Rookie of the Year honors.

    So it was a heartbreaking blow to Jordan, his Chicago Bulls and the NBA at large when an early November 1985 x-ray confirmed the fears that a bone in his foot had been broken during a visit to the Golden State Warriors, ultimately whittling Jordans 1985-86 stat line to just eighteen games. The Bulls would nonetheless manage to earn a playoff berth without the electrifying Jordan, and though they would ultimately fall to the great Celtics dynasty in a first-round sweep, the brave return of their wounded warrior, and his hobbled brilliance, served as a harbinger of brighter days ahead.

    Presented is one of the most desirable pairs of Air Jordans ever to appear upon the hobby's auction block, dating to that courageous return to action against the advice of team doctors. While any sneakers worn by Michael Jordan in NBA competition are considered elite collectibles, and the first incarnation of his namesake breed the cream of that crop, these Air Jordan I's distinguish themselves even within that most special vintage.

    Each exterior ankle features a heavy nylon and aluminum buckle customization that was crafted to provide an extra degree of support to Jordan's delicate left foot (and to provide weighted balance on the right). The bulk of the support appears at interior, where a leather and velcro strap would lock tight to each ankle. It's unclear exactly how many games Jordan sported this customized style--he'd already abandoned it by the time he famously put up sixty-three points against the Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference first round playoffs. He does wear the style in Getty Images (86547613, 86547546) at Boston Garden however, leading us to believe that undated shots were snapped on March 21, 1986, his fourth game back since late October 1985.

    The left and right shoes are size "13" and "13 1/2" respectively, each subsequently coded at interior ankle "850102-TYPS." The interior padding of the tongues has degraded, and the insoles are missing--Jordan used custom models so the absence is common for his shoes--but the exteriors present without any distractions of significance--there is no degradation to the soles, a problem that plagues many vintage sneakers. Laces are not original.

    The absence of laces reveals on the left tongue a faded but legible period inscription from Jordan that reads, "To Trudy, Best Wishes, Michael Jordan." It's a factor that further elevates the enormous collecting appeal.

    We are aware of only one other example of this customized style, and the likelihood that the two pairs represent the entire surviving population (and perhaps the only ones that ever existed) ranges somewhere between possible and probable. We'd call this a dream come true for the Jordan sneaker collector, but it's such an absurdly rare and unique format that it's unlikely many have ever dared to dream of ownership at all. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Full LOA from PSA/DNA (autograph). Full LOA from SGC Authentic (autograph).

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

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Footware (view shipping information)

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    19th Sunday 10:00 pm CT
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    19th Sunday
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    This lot is in: 1 - Sports Collectibles Session Platinum Night
    (Lots 50001-50058) - 10:00 PM Central Time, Sunday, November 19, 2017.
    (Internet bidding closes at 10:00 PM Central Time the evening the session begins, with extended bidding available.)

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    Additional Location Info:
    Heritage Auctions - Dallas
    3500 Maple Ave
    17th Floor
    Dallas, TX 75219

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    w/ Buyer's Premium (BP) : $20,000.00 Minimum Next Bid: $17,000 ($21,250.00 w/ BP)