THE immense global success of the documentary, The Last Dance, amid the coronavirus lockdown has boosted sales of collectibles related to American basketball legend Michael Jordan, some of which are trading in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Timing is everything,” says Jordan Geller, a collector who on Sunday became richer by at least US$240,000, thanks to the sale at Sotheby’s of a pair of Air Jordan 1 sneakers – the first model created especially by Nike for Jordan, who made his NBA debut back in 1984.
The game-worn pair could set an auction record for sneakers set last year by Nike’s Moon Shoe, a pair of which sold for US$437,500.
Many specialists consider Jordan a key figure in creating the market for collectible sneakers, with only non-sports personalities such as Kanye West or Travis Scott able to compete with him today.
But ESPN’s 10-part documentary, The Last Dance, which weaves details of Jordan’s entire career through the narrative of the Bulls’ pursuit of a sixth NBA title, has ramped up interest in all things Jordan.
“I think this is a game-changer,” Chris Ivy, director of sports collectibles at Heritage Auctions, said of the documentary series that was carried globally by Netflix.
He predicted the interest fuelled by The Last Dance – the first episode aired on April 19 – will continue.
On the StockX shoe resale platform, the Air Jordan 1 Chicago model now sells for up to US$1,500, compared with US$900 in March.
“That could be largely attributable to the documentary because that’s a sneaker that’s been on the market for years,” says StockX economist Jesse Einhorn.
Likewise, a 1986 Fleer collector’s card sold for US$96,000 in early May at Heritage, an item that was worth US$20,000 to US$30,000 at the beginning of the year.