Michael Jordan’s Game-Worn ‘Shattered Backboard’ Sneakers Sell for Record US$615,000

In 1985, Michael Jordan participated in a Nike-sponsored exhibition game in Trieste, Italy. He scored 30 points and even shattered the backboard with a powerful dunk. The sneakers that he wore in the game, a pair of red-and-black Air Jordan 1, sold for US$615,000 at Christie’s online sale, becoming the most expensive pair of sneakers ever auctioned.

Michael Jordan’s ‘shattered backboard’ moment with his Air Jordan 1 (The original black-and-white is partially colourised to show Michael Jordan and his red-and-black sneakers) 

Air Jordan 1 High ‘Shattered Backboard’ Origin Story, Game Worn Signed Sneaker
Nike, 1985

Size: 13.5
Estimate: US$650,000 - 850,000
Price realised: US$615,000

On 25 August 1985, Michael Jordan travelled to Trieste, Italy to participate in an exhibition game between the Italian Lega Basket Series A teams Stefanel Trieste and Juve Caserta.

Wearing his trademark number 23 jersey and a pair of his new Air Jordan 1 shoes, Jordan scored 30 points. The most memorable play of the game was Jordan's remarkable dunk, so powerful, it shattered the glass backboard into thousands of pieces – one of those pieces still remaining in the sole of his left shoe offered for sale.

Jordan’s remarkable dunk that shattered the glass backboard

Pieces of shattered glass remain in the sole of his left shoe being auctioned

The original red-and-black sneakers were offered at Christie’s online sale ‘Original Air’ with an estimate of US$650,000 - 850,000. Though it was sold for a price below its low estimate at US$615,000, it set a new record for the most expensive sneakers ever auctioned.

The previous record-holder was a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s worn by Michael Jordan in 1984-1985, which fetched US$560,000 at Sotheby’s this May. The record is now obliterated by the ‘shattered backboard’ Air Jordan 1 after just three months.

To commemorate the moment, Nike launched the ‘Shattered Backboard' Jordan sneakers in colours of black, white and orange, inspired by his black and orange jersey worn. Different editions are priced at around a hundred up to a few thousand US dollars. While most of us obviously can't afford the original ones, these are more affordable choices for MJ fans to add to their sneaker collection.

Nike Air Jordan 1s previously held the auction record for the world’s most expensive sneakers

The black, white and orange ‘shattered backboard’ Air Jordan 1

Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s
Sale: Original Air: Michael Jordan Game-Worn and Player Exclusive Sneaker Rarities
Lots offered: 11
Bidding dates: 30 July – 13 August 2020