Rare Michael Jordan Shoe Found in Abandoned Mall Expected to Get $20K in Auction

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2019

FILE - In this June 27, 2011 file photo, the Nike Air Jordan logo is shown in front of the Niketown store in downtown Portland, Ore. The way Americans are chomping Big Macs, lacing up Air Jordans and gulping peppermint mochas at Starbucks in this abysmal economy, you’d think they’re taking advantage of big holiday discounts. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

What may be "the most significant Air Jordan shoe in existence" was found in an abandoned mall in Milwaukee.

According to JR Radcliffe of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (h/t USA Today), Larry Awe—who was the head of maintenance at the Capitol Court Mall before it was demolished—found a shoe with Michael Jordan's signature on it in a storage room and recognized it from when it was on display at the sports apparel store Playmakers.

Awe and his future son-in-law Donald Griffin are putting it up for auction through Heritage Auctions, which believes the shoe will go for $20,000 despite the bidding starting at $5,000.

"It was almost like a buried treasure," Chris Nerat, consignment director at Heritage Auctions, said. "Larry's had it in his basement for 17 years, and it happens to be what I consider and what Heritage considers the most significant Air Jordan shoe in existence, and I don't think we're overexaggerating."

Radcliffe noted Awe and Griffin will receive the majority of the auction price with Heritage Auctions taking a cut, though former Playmakers owner Ron Tesmer believes he is the rightful owner of the shoe and is attempting to stop the sale.

Radcliffe also explained why the shoe is so valuable, pointing out Jordan wore the Air Jordan Ones during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in 1985 before the white shoe with a black swoosh and toe was available to the public.

"It's identical to the shoes on Jordan's feet in the famous Jumpman advertisement that turned into an internationally recognizable Nike logo," Radcliffe wrote.

It has been quite the journey for the rare shoe, and Awe and Griffin are in line to profit off it as long as the sale goes through.

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