Sotheby's to auction 1995 custom made 'Space Jam' Air Jordans

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Sotheby's to auction 1995 custom made 'Space Jam' Air Jordans
Michael Jordan signed ‘Player Sample’ Deadstock Air Jordan 11 ‘Space Jam’ sneakers are on display during a press preview of the upcoming single-lot online auction at Sotheby's on July 14, 2021 in New York City. Cindy Ord/Getty Images/AFP.

NEW YORK, NY.- Dropping just in time for the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy, the sequel to the iconic ‘90s film starring Michael Jordan, Sotheby’s is offering Michael Jordan Signed ‘Player Sample’ Deadstock Air Jordan 11 ‘Space Jam’ sneakers in a special single-lot, online auction. Created in 1995 and named to commemorate the smash hit film Space Jam, which was released in 1996, the never-before-worn sneakers are among the rarest, most-coveted Air Jordans in existence. One of only a handful known to exist, the present pair were made to Jordan’s specifications, and are the same model that Jordan wore throughout the famous finale basketball game in Space Jam. On offer in a custom designed wood and velvet box, the pair is estimated to achieve $150/200,000.

Titled MJ’s Secret Stuff | The Space Jam Jordans, referencing the special water bottle used by the Toon Squad to defeat the Monstars in the original film, the dedicated, online auction will open for bidding today, 15 July, a day prior to the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy – the new sequel which will star LeBron James, and other NBA superstars, alongside Bugs Bunny and more Warner Bros. animated characters.

The rare pair will be on public view in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries from 15 July – 26 July.

Andre Ljustina, collector and CEO of Project Blitz said, “I’m excited to partner with Sotheby’s on this groundbreaking sale. This pair has been one of my most prized possessions for years now, and with the release of the new film, it felt like the right time for another collector and Space Jam fanatic to enjoy this incredible pair. They really have become a piece of my history, and I hope a new collector can enjoy them as much as I have. As my company Project Blitz has grown to include thousands of pairs of sneakers, this pair has remained one of my ultimate grails.”

Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables, commented: “This pair is truly a grail for many sneaker collectors worldwide. It’s coded as a ‘Player Sample’ which means it was cut with Mr. Jordan in mind and to his specifications. However, this pair has been kept in absolutely perfect condition to this day. We’re excited to drop them the same week as the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy, and celebrate the legacy of two of the greatest athletes in history of the NBA: LeBron James and Michael Jordan.”

In perfect deadstock condition and never-before used, the present pair is a ‘Player Sample’ or ‘Player Exclusive’ – cut with Jordan in mind and to his specifications. Produced in 1995, this colorway was exclusively produced for Michael Jordan and not sold in retail stores. The coding on the interior states BBMN04-950112-FTPS. BBM means “Basketball Mens” and “950112-FTPS” indicates the production date of 1995 (“95”). “FTPS” means that they are a made out of the Feng Tay (“FT”) factory, and are Player Samples (“PS”). The shoes are in Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan 11 size 13 (throughout his career he wore sizes 13, 13.5 and sometimes even a mix of the two) and have been signed by Jordan in silver ink.

Space Jam starred Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and a variety of other NBA superstars including Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and more, alongside Warner Bros. animated characters. In the film, Jordan squares off against the alien ‘Monstars’ while wearing the present Air Jordan model. The film was a remarkable success, with a cumulative worldwide gross of over $230M, and was a groundbreaking crossover film, wedding sports and animation.

The Jordan 11 style was worn by Michael Jordan during the 1995-1996 NBA Playoffs and Finals. Leading the Chicago Bulls to 72 wins, Jordan won his fourth NBA MVP title during this iconic season, with an additional NBA Finals MVP title after the Bulls defeated the Seattle Supersonics in the Finals.

The beloved Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny duo began in 1992 during Nike and Looney Toons’ joint ad campaigns. After the major marketing success of the “Hare Jordan” during the Super Bowl XXVI, Jordan’s agent David Falk thought the partnership could reach even greater success as a full-length film. The opening weekend of Space Jam in November of 1996 shattered the box office, with over $27 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada. Space Jam has garnered more than $230 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing basketball movie of all time – a title the film still holds nearly 25 years after its release. Aside from marketing and box office success, Space Jam contributed to the post-baseball comeback of Michael Jordan as an athletic phenomenon.

During the weeks it took to shoot Space Jam, Michael Jordan trained relentlessly to prepare for the upcoming season. Jordan’s schedule consisted of filming from 7AM to 7PM, followed by hosting pick-up games in the gym built by Warner Brothers. Called “The Jordan Dome” during its time of operation, the gym became the home to some of the most intense pick-up games with legends such as Grant Hill, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley. Many of the opponents who faced off with Jordan in the Dome noticed a new level of tenacity and skill, and recognized that Jordan had shaken off the dust from his baseball career and was ready to continue winning championship titles in the NBA.

The 2016 Retro Air Jordan 11 Space Jam proved to be such an unbelievable success that Nike’s Brand President Trevor Edwards declared them as the largest and most successful shoe launch in the history of the brand.

Designed by legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, the patent leather on the uppers of the shoe also allowed Jordan to wear the sneakers with a suit.

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