A pair of Michael Jordan‘s shoes was sold at auction for the highest price on record for a pair of game-used sneakers.
The shoes, said to be used in the gold-medal game against Spain in the 1984 Olympics, sold early Sunday morning for $190,373.
“The record-shattering price proves that Michael Jordan has no equal in the marketplace for game-used basketball memorabilia,” said Dan Imler, vice president of SCP Auctions, which sold the shoes.
The previous record for a pair of game-used sneakers sold at auction was for the ones Jordan wore in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, also known as the “Flu Game.” In that game, played exactly 20 years ago Sunday, Jordan battled through flu-like symptoms to score 38 points in the Bulls’ win over the Jazz. Those sneakers sold for $104,765 in 2013.
Jordan’s shoes from the 1984 Olympics, which are autographed and include his orthotic inserts, are considered the last pair he wore in a game as an amateur. The shoes were obtained by a ballboy who happened to be the 11-year-old son of Los Angeles Lakers great Gail Goodrich. The game was played at The Forum in Los Angeles.
It also marked the last time Jordan wore Converse in an official game.
Jordan, who wore Converse throughout his college career thanks to the brand’s $10,000 a year deal with University of North Carolina coach Dean Smith, was drafted by the Chicago Bulls three weeks before he played his first game for the United States in the 1984 Games.
Jordan scored 20 points in the 96-65 win over Spain on Aug. 10, 1984.
It was during the Games when Nike started to put its full-court press on Jordan. Jordan wanted to wear Converse or Adidas — which he wore during the Olympic trials — during his NBA career, but the Adidas business was in a state of flux and no offer ever came. Converse offered him $100,000 a year, in line with what Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were making. Nike blew away that offer with a five-year deal at $500,000 per year, plus stock options that brought the initial total to $7 million, with the additional promise of a signature shoe.
Jordan, who signed his deal with the Bulls in September, signed the Nike deal in October 1984. In the first two months on the market, $70 million worth of Air Jordans were sold.