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    Description

    Autograph session captured on network television just hours before Bulls claimed first NBA Championship!

    1985 Michael Jordan Game Worn & Double-Signed Air Jordan 1 Rookie Sneakers with Extraordinary Provenance. The start of two of the greatest dynasties in basketball history are marked by this exceptional offering, a groundbreaking sculpture of leather and rubber that has become permanently engrained in American cultural iconography. Today the design seems charmingly simplistic when compared to the futuristic blend of mysterious polymers utilized to create the latest generation of Air Jordans, but the Ones will always reign supreme in collecting circles no matter what the designers at Nike could ever bring to market.

    Of course it goes without saying that the tiny fraction of those inaugural Air Jordans owned and operated by their namesake occupy the pinnacle of the sneaker hierarchy, placing this offering high on the list of the most desirable basketball shoes ever made available at auction. These sneakers are among the very first created for the hoops hero, as those conversant in Nike coding will realize. At interior ankle of left (size 13) and right (size 13.5) sneakers is text reading, "850102-TYPS." This is decoded to mean the production date is between January and February of 1985, produced in the Tong Yang factory in Korea as Player Samples. No retail model shoes were available in size 13.5, nor with that "TYPS" coding. This debut Air Jordan format first became available in retail markets in March of 1985, the same month that MJ started to wear them in NBA competition. By May, Nike had netted $70 million in sales revenues, at $65/pair.

    But Gene Banks got these for free, directly from Jordan himself, who he joined with the 1985-86 Bulls after four seasons in San Antonio. He writes in his included notarized letter of provenance that he asked his new teammate for a pair of his eponymous kicks and Jordan obliged, signing each ankle in blue ink which has since faded to about 3/10 strength. Banks later passed them on to an old buddy from his Spurs days, San Antonio sportscaster Rick Lozano, who interviewed Jordan at The Great Western Forum on June 12, 1991 as the Bulls prepared to face the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the NBA Finals. That contest that would prove to be the first of Jordan's six championship clinchers.

    Flouting convention that has always discouraged members of the media from seeking autographs from players, Lozano presented these shoes and a blue sharpie to Jordan on camera, asking for an upgrade to the faded autographs he had signed years earlier for Banks. The camera zooms in on the action as Jordan boldly signs the white toe box of the right shoe and then the left as well, to which he adds a marvelous notation: "1st Pair."

    We understand this language to mean it's the first Air Jordan format rather than the first pair he ever wore, though, as previously stated, the January/February 1985 production date of the sneakers undeniably place them among the earliest donned in competition. Add the fact that they were autographed on the day that Jordan earned the first of his half-dozen championship rings--a day he wept as he clutched the O'Brien Trophy in his tight embrace--and you're left with an offering of the highest significance and collecting appeal. Notarized letter of provenance from Gene Banks. LOA from MEARS, Authentic. Two full LOA's from Beckett (one for each shoe). Video documentation of autograph session. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 26
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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