Few people have derived more profit from a colleague’s superstition than Tim Hallam, a former communications director for the Chicago Bulls. In the spring of 1991, the Bulls were preparing for their first NBA Finals, against Magic Johnson’s aging Lakers, when Hallam approached Michael Jordan, the team’s superstar, to ask him for a kindness. If, as expected, the Bulls won, would Jordan give him a shoe from the clinching game? Jordan agreed, the Bulls won, and, in the confetti frenzy of tears and champagne that followed, he made good. Then, after the Bulls won their second championship 12 months later, Jordan did it again. Perhaps unwilling to displease or otherwise disturb the hidden cosmic operations that had delivered him to the apex of the basketball world, he made the gift into a ritual: After the final buzzer sounded on each of the six titles he won with the Bulls, he’d pull off one of his shoes, sign it, and hand it over to Hallam.
On February 2, Sotheby’s is planning to auction off these shoes as a lot. The company is calling it the “dynasty collection” and billing it as the most significant set of Air Jordan sneakers ever brought to market. “It’s an unparalleled collection,” Dylan Dittrich, an analyst at Altan Insights who covers collectible shoes, told me. “It’s hard to even believe that it exists. These are shoes worn by the most important athlete of the century during the most pivotal games of his career.” For basketball fans, these are relics of the True Cross.
Read More (...)