WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Michael Jordan has long had the golden touch. That goes for basketball, merchandising and memorabilia. Even when it comes to old, dirty sneakers.
Over the weekend, the sneakers Jordan wore during the gold-medal game of the 1984 Olympics sold in an online auction for $190,372.80. ESPN’s Darren Rovell says it’s the highest price for a pair of game-used sneakers in history.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the previous record was also held by Jordan footwear. Rovell writes the old record was more than $104,000 in 2013 for the sneakers Jordan wore in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, when he led the Chicago Bulls over the Utah Jazz while battling the flu.
The new record-setters aren’t a classic pair of Air Jordans. They are old, worn, black and white Converses, which Jordan signed. They are considered the last pair of shoes Jordan wore as an amateur, and the final pair he worse made by Converse, which had a deal with UNC when Jordan played there. Jordan, of course, signed a merchandising deal with Nike when he went pro.
Jordan’s Nike deal has even paid off over the years for his alma mater Laney High School in Wilmington, which has received royalties for use of the Laney name on Jordan merchandise and in Nike promotions. Jordan also visited Laney this spring to shoot a Gatorade commercial.
The auction with Jordan’s shoes had another Wilmington connection. It also included 20 items that belonged to Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Stargell and sold by his widow, who is a Port City native.