If it weren’t for Sonny Vaccaro, there wouldn’t be Air Jordans. Vaccaro, then a consultant for Nike, was instrumental in the deal that revolutionized the entire sneaker industry. But that’s not how The Last Dance portrayed it.
Sonny was the one who helped conceptualize the signature sneaker. He then persuaded Nike to bet on an NBA rookie who still hadn’t made any significant impact in the association. Vaccaro saw the charisma and the transcendency of Michael and was willing to bet his job on it. And yet, The Last Dance only showed the back of his head in a photo of Jordan’s historic meeting with Oregon’s giant. Now, he’s taking the matter into his own hands.
In an attempt to push back against his omission from ESPN’s 10-part documentary, Vaccaro is putting a one-of-a-kind piece of memorabilia up for auction. It’s a pair of autographed black Air Jordan VIs that Michael wore in Game 4 of the ’91 NBA Finals against the Lakers. The shoes were sent to Sonny by Jordan himself, as a compensation gift for declining MJ’s offer to attend the watch the game live in LA.
Vaccaro preferred to watch it from his home in Palm Springs, and he got game-worn Jordans for it. The shoes were notable at the time for a hole cut on top of the right one in an attempt to help Jordan play despite a bruised big toe he had suffered in Game 3 that was still swollen and hurting him.
Sonny originally intended his grandkids to inherit the shoes, but the revisionist history shown in The Last Dance forced him to take the steps needed for the narrative to shift and for him to get the credit 81-year-old Vaccaro feels he deserves.
That’s the reason the shoe is being sold. I can’t allow these lies to perpetuate and take hold.Sonny Vaccaro, Yahoo Sports
According to Sotheby’s, the shoes are estimated at $500/$750,000 and are the only game-worn Jordan sneakers on the market from any NBA Finals. The bidding is open until December 7, when hopefully, Sonny Vaccaro will get the satisfaction for his systematic erasure from the official version of the Jordan story.