On October 29, 1985, Chicago’s sports fans held their collective breath. The reason for that was because Michael Jordan, the dynamic young guard for the Bulls, playing in his second season, left the game against the Golden State Warriors with a serious foot injury. A series of test followed and on November 5th, the Chicago Tribune reported the grim news to a disheartened fan base: “The worst possible scenario for the Chicago Bulls, their greatest fear, became a cruel reality Monday when X-rays revealed that Michael Jordan, the heart and soul of this up-and-coming franchise, has a fractured bone in his left foot and will be out for at least six weeks.” Unfortunately, Jordan missed six months, not six weeks, and during his sixty-four-game absence the Bulls, who began the season 3-0, fell to 24-43.
Offered here are the shoes Jordan was wearing that fateful night during his sophomore campaign when he suffered the first major injury of his professional career. The shoes were a gift to our consignor’s father, who received them personally from Jordan at the time (they were friends), and they have remained in his family’s sole possession until this time. The red-and-white Nike Air Jordan I sneakers feature a black Nike “Swoosh” emblem on each side and black laces. The left shoe is size “13,” while the right shoe is size “13 ½.” The code "850102-TYPS" is printed on the interior of each shoe. The (85) is code for 1985, (01) is code for January and (02) is code for February, meaning these shoes were produced between January and February of 1985. Nice wear is displayed throughout, including scuffs, loose threads, and paint transfers. Because the injury occurred in the third game of the 1985-1986 season, and because the shoes were produced halfway through the 1984-85 season, it's possible that the shoes may have been worn during a portion of Jordan’s rookie season, but that is only speculation. Jordan scored 12 points in 18 minutes prior to his injury, which was enough to help the Bulls win the game 111-105.
Jordan eventually made his return on March 15, 1986 against the Milwaukee Bucks, and finished the season out by playing in the remaining 14 regular season games and all three Playoff games against the Celtics. Since Michael needed extra protection for his foot, he had Nike make him modified versions of the Air Jordan I’s, including the Air Jordan I’s with dunk sole, Air Jordan I’s with custom strap, and the Air Jordan 1.5 prototype. Through searching online resources, including Getty Images, we confirmed that MJ wore a modified Air Jordan I version in 13 of the 18 post-injury games, including the entire Playoff series against the Celtics. The only games we cannot confirm, nor deny, are 3/19 at 76ers, 3/22 at Cavaliers, 4/3 at Pacers, 4/5 vs. Hawks and 4/7 vs. Bucks. Without photo or video evidence from these five remaining games, we cannot be 100% certain, but it is highly likely that the shoes offered here are the last pair of original Air Jordan I's that Michael Jordan ever wore in an NBA game. Comes with MEARS LOA.