The white leather shoes with the red Nike swoosh and soles were worn by the iconic player in 1984 in the fifth game of his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls.
A pair of sneakers worn by NBA superstar Michael Jordan early in his career sold for nearly $1.5 million.
It's a record price at auction for game-worn footwear, Sotheby's said on Sunday.
The astronomical price easily beat the record held by a pair of Nike Air Jordans which sold for $615,000 in August 2020 at a Christie's auction.
#AuctionUpdate The most valuable sneakers ever offered at auction—Michael Jordan's regular season game-worn Nike Air Ships from 1984—have just sold at $1,472,000 in our luxury sale in Las Vegas. #SothebysxMGM pic.twitter.com/OlxvZ1ETML— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) October 24, 2021
A pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1s worn by rapper Kanye West sold for $1.8 million in April, triple the previous record for sneakers - although that was a private sale.
Jordan's autographed size-13 lace-ups were in good overall condition, with signs of court wear and tear, Sotheby's said. The pair was a gift from the player to Tommie Tim III Lewis, who was a ball boy for the Denver Nuggets during the 1984-'85 season.
A bankable star
The market value of objects identified with the retired basketball superstar have skyrocketed since the release of "The Last Dance," an ESPN/Netflix documentary that chronicles the saga of Jordan and his Chicago Bulls.
The sneakers that went under the hammer Sunday predate the first Air Jordans, the now-classic line that quickly morphed from popular basketball gear to sought-after streetwear worldwide.
The Air Ship shoe that served as the genesis for the Air Jordan series was designed by Bruce Kilgore and originally released in 1984, and it was the first sneaker worn by Jordan as an NBA professional.
That year Jordan, already a bankable star given his college basketball heroics, completed a deal with Nike in which the company gave him his own signature line of shoes and clothing.
The deal was a first for Nike, and it paved the way for a proliferation of player-brand collaborations.