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The story behind Michael Jordan’s $615K ‘Shattered Backboard’ sneakers

Michael Jordan shattered a backboard during an exhibition game in Italy. The  sneakers he wore in that game were sold for a massive $615,000
The origin of Michael Jordan's Jumpman logo

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan changed the sneaker industry by not following rules. There are so many stories behind his Air Jordan basketball shoes and that is why they continue to sell like crazy even to this day. The Air Jordan 1s are one of the most coveted designs and a version of the original shoe fetched more than half a million dollars in an auction. Here's the story behind it.

The Shattered Backboard story

On August 26, 1985, Michael Jordan participated in an exhibition game in Trieste, Italy. Nike sponsored the event, and no one imagined it could lead to one of the most amazing sneaker stories ever. MJ did MJ things that included scoring at will while pulling off acrobatic moves. He ended up with 41 points, but that wasn't the main story of the game.

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At one point, Jordan dunked the ball so hard that it caused the backboard to break into pieces. It immediately ended the game since it was just an exhibition with MJ's team-leading 113-112. There were no serious casualties in the game besides two opponents who suffered minor cuts from shattered backboard pieces.

Why did the shoes sell for more than half a million at an auction?

Jordan's shoes usually fetch a large amount of money when auctioned. There's a bit of history in every pair. In the case of these Air Jordan 1 game-worn sneakers, the left shoe had pieces of shattered glass in the sole, giving off an authentic feel.

The pair was expected to sell for as much as $850,000 at a Christie's online auction. Although it was sold at $615,000, below the expected mark, it still made history as one of the most expensive auctioned sneakers, per The Value. Coincidentally, another one of the most expensive sneakers that were auctioned before belonged to MJ too. The Air Jordan 1 worn in 1984-85 sold for $560,000 in Sotheby's, but the Shattered Backboard ones went for even more three months later.

This is proof that MJ is still the GOAT on and off the court. He remains relevant despite being away from the game for several decades. His sneakers and gear are still in demand, and collectors see his valuables as worthy investments. 

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