Most Expensive and Rare Basketball Shoes of All Time
With $100,000 in the bank you could invest in real estate. You could also buy your a pair of sneakers. Yes, you read that right. There is a pair of rare basketball sneakers out there in the world currently worth over a $100,000.
If that sounds incredible, you need to read this. We have dug into and explained the history of some of the most rare and expensive basketball shoes, and boy is it fascinating.
Nike Air Zoom Kobe 1
During the 2002-20003 season, Kobe Bryant was not attached to any sneaker brand. It was during the gap after he left Adidas, but before he inked a deal with Nike, a period when he “auditioned” a variety of sneaker brands throughout the year.
This experimenting would see him play a number of games wearing Jordans – a lot of people thought he was going to sign with Jordan Brand, but in the end he went to Nike. One of the Jordans he wore during this time was this pair of Kobe’s Lakers-themed Air Jordan 3 Player Exclusives.
The sneakers got auctioned in 2017 on eBay by an unidentified buyer for $30,400. The pair was “Home White” in color, and included the production date (11/26/2002) on the tongue tag. They were Kobe’s size 14.
The listing asserted that the sneakers had never been worn. They showed typical signs of aging.
Eminem x Carhartt x Air Jordan 4
Scarcity really pushes up the price of sneakers. Take the Eminem x Carhartt x Jordan Air 4 sneakers that came out in 2015. Of 300 produced pairs, only 10 were availed to the public.
The shoes were auctioned on eBay, with the lowest winning bid being $18,750. One of the pairs went for $30,100 – the next highest was $25,900. The auction raised a total of $227,000, which was donated to the Michigan State University’s Music School. The money would help the university’s music school enroll more local students.
These Air Jordan 4’s were the result of a collaboration between rapper Eminem, Nike, and the Jordan brand, a tribute to the 15th anniversary of his Marshall Mathers LP (debuted in 2000)
The Air Jordan 4 features details such as a hockey mask and reverse ‘E’ logo on the heel. It is dressed in a color scheme of white, chrome, and black.
Jimmy Butler (who was then playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves) wore the rare shoe during a game against the Chicago Bulls last year.
Rapper Lil Yachty showed off his collection of rare sneakers on a two-part episode of Complex Closets last year. The extensive collection includes one pair of Eminem x Carhartt x Air Jordan 4’s.
Allen Iverson Reebok Question
Made in 2004, the Reebok Question was revolutionary. Allen Iverson began working with Reebok in the mid-nineties, releasing his first signature shoe, the Reebok Question in 1996. In 1997 Reebok released the Reebok Answer, and every year after that up to 2004 they released a new version of the Answer.
It was in 2004 that Reebok, in collaboration with Eastbay, attempted to create a unique $65,000 Reebok Question. They made only one pair, which featured 25.50 carats and 246 diamonds. It was never revealed who bought the pair.
Diamond-Studded Nike Air Force 1
In 2007, Nike made a special pair of Air Force 1 sneakers for Outkast rapper Big Boi. Air Force 1 sneakers first came out in 1982, discontinued after a year, and then Nike re-released them in 1986, adding the italic “Nike” logo and the swoosh at the back. Since then, there have been over 1,700 variations of the iconic shoe - this special pair that Nike made for Big Boi is one example.
Priced at $50,000, they are, to date, the most expensive Nike Air Force 1’s. The sneakers were lined on the sides with gold and champagne-colored 13k carat diamonds.
Solid-Silver Air Jordan 1
Air Jordans are one of the most popular basketball shoes. The sneakers were originally made exclusively for Michael Jordan in 1984 and released to the public later in the same year. The price of a pair of Jordans depends on which year they were released, and if Jordan himself wore them.
These particular Jordans were the gift Michael Jordan’s wife gave him on his 32nd birthday, having commissioned a jeweler to mold sterling silver on the sneakers. This was after his first shoe, the Air Jordan 1, came out. Only 10 pairs are in existence.
A seller who went by the name “eaglesbyfly” sold a pair of these 10-pound, solid-silver Air Jordans on eBay. Other versions of the shoe have been on display at the Chicago Science Museum, at Michael Jordan’s restaurant, and at the golf course where used to play.
Air Jordan 12 (Flu Game)
This is one of the shoes Michael Jordan himself wore during the flu game, which explains the insane price. The “Flu Game” is legendary in the annals of NBA history.
The day was June 11, 1997, the 5th Game of the NBA finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz. The Chicago Bulls’ most valuable player was extremely ill, suffering from flu-like symptoms like vomiting. Michael was clearly not in any position to play.
Yet, somehow, summoning his immense reserves of willpower, not only did Michael Jordan play during 44 minutes of the game, but he also scored 38 points and led his team to a 90-88 win against the Utah Jazz. He recorded 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and one block. It was a truly unforgettable moment in basketball.
That explains why the sneakers he wore during that game would be so valuable. Preston Truman, a former ball boy of the Utah Jazz, auctioned off the shoes in 2013 at a starting point of $5,000. The final price was $104,765. Both size 13 shoes had Michael Jordan’s autograph. The sale included his black game socks too.
Extremely expensive sneakers, as you can see, always have a tantalizing story behind them, a history. There has to be something transcendent about them, like Jordan or Kobe wearing them, or a superstar like Eminem being attached to the project.
What really pushes up the price, though, is the rareness, especially if there is only one pair in existence. Someone somewhere is always willing to folk out thousands of dollars for a rare collectible shoe. It’s like buying rare paintings.