Michael Jordan’s Championship Sneakers Sell for Record $8 Million at Auction - Kanebridge News
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Michael Jordan’s Championship Sneakers Sell for Record $8 Million at Auction

Tue, Feb 6, 2024 9:02amGrey Clock 2 min

In a transaction that further cements NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan’s standing atop the world of sports memorabilia, Sotheby’s New York sold six Air Jordan sneakers earlier Friday for the whopping total of US$8 million.

Dubbed the Dynasty Collection, the set of six shoes were sold to an anonymous buyer who was in the room during the bidding, according to the auction house. Sotheby’s had publicised the sale with a far-reaching tour, displaying the sneakers around the world while estimating that the set would sell for between US$7 million and US$10 million.

“To have something from one of Jordan’s championship clinching games is a goal for every collector of sports artifacts. To have something from all six is unheard of,” says Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of modern collectables. “We are thrilled with the result which is a testament to the greatest to ever play the game.”

The Dynasty Collection earned headlining status for the second edition of Sotheby’s “The One,” a cross-category sale that features an eclectic range of notable objects representing human achievement and excellence.

Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls shoots the winning jump shot with 5.2 seconds left during game six of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City in June, 1998. The Bulls won 87-86 for their sixth NBA championship.
AFP via Getty Images

As the hammer fell, the final price tag set a new global benchmark for game-worn sneakers while becoming the second-highest price achieved for any Jordan memorabilia, just behind Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Game 1 jersey from the famed “Last Dance” season, which achieved US$10.1 million at Sotheby’s in September 2022 and still holds the world record for any game-worn sports memorabilia.

The auctioneer also holds the record for any pair of sneakers, with Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s having earned $2.2 million in April 2023.

Jordan, who turns 61 on Feb. 17, famously handed off one of his size-13 and 13.5 shoes—an Air Jordan VI (1991), Air Jordan VII (1992), Air Jordan VIII (1993), Air Jordan XI (1996), Air Jordan XII (1997), and Air Jordan XIV (1998)—after each championship-deciding victory to Bulls PR exec Tim Hallam.

The sneakers were later obtained from Hallam by a private American collector, who ultimately enlisted Sotheby’s for the sale. Initially announced nearly a year ago, the collection has captured the attention of sports fans and hobbyists alike.

“Today’s record-breaking price is a testament to the GOAT. The Dynasty Collection undeniably ranks among the most significant compilations of sports memorabilia in history,” Wachter said in a statement announcing the result.

“Serving as both a reminder of Michael Jordan’s lasting impact on the world and a tangible expression of his recognised legendary status, its significance is further validated by this monumental result.

One other piece of Jordan memorabilia was included in the auction: the signed official scorekeeper’s sheet from the highest-scoring game of his career—a 69-point effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 1990. It sold for US$50,800.


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The S&P 500 index has been crushing private-equity returns in the past year, and Blackstone ’s second-quarter results illustrate that trend.

As part of its earnings release early Thursday Blackstone said its corporate private-equity returns in the year ending in June were 11.3%. That compares with a 24.5% total return for the S&P 500.

In the prior year ending in June 2023, the S&P 500 topped Blackstone with a 19.4% return against 9.7% for the firm’s corporate private-equity business, which has $145 billion of assets and remains one of its most important areas along with real estate.

Blackstone is the leading alternatives firm with over $1 trillion in assets under management and has the largest market value of any public investment firm at more than $160 billion.

Driven by Nvidia , Microsoft , Apple , Amazon and other big technology stocks, the S&P 500 has handily topped most asset classes in the past several years.

Another sign of more difficult times for private equity came earlier this week from Calpers, the $503 billion California pension fund, when it reported it s preliminary returns for its fiscal year ending in June . Calpers is one of the first major endowments or pension funds to report results for the June fiscal year. undefined The pension fund, a major player in private equity, said its private-equity investments gained 10.9% net of fees—although that figure is lagged one quarter. Calpers’ public-equity investments were up 17.5% in the year ended June—its strongest asset class. Private equity remains a favorite of many pension funds and leading university endowments like those of Harvard and Yale. Their view is that private equity can beat public-market returns over the long term.

But the private-equity business has gotten tougher in recent years due to keen competition for deals, higher interest rates and a less receptive IPO market, which has made exits tougher.

And private-equity portfolios of firms like Blackstone look nothing like the S&P 500, given their investments in small to midsize companies.

Blackstone, for instance, bought a majority stake in Emerson’s climate technologies business last year and more recently purchased Tropical Smoothie, a franchiser of fast-casual cafes. It also holds a stake in Bumble, the publicly traded online dating site, and it’s an investor in actress Reese Witherspoon’s media company, Hello Sunshine. Blackstone’s corporate private-equity business runs $145 billion and has 82 investments, according to the firm’s website.

Blackstone’s private-equity business has strong long-term returns including a gain of over 50% in the year ended in June 2021 when it handily topped the S&P 500 index.

But the S&P 500 index has become difficult to beat more recently and it’s dominated by some of the best companies in the world. It carries less risk than private equity, given the cash-rich balance sheets of its leading companies like Apple , Microsoft and Alphabet .

Private-equity firms, by contrast, often use considerable leverage to boost returns. Investors can get exposure to the S&P 500 through index funds that charge 0.1% or less in annual fees and with immediate liquidity.

A key risk with the S&P 500 is its vulnerability to a selloff in the leading tech firms that now make up over 40% of the index. The recent rotation into smaller companies illustrates that.

Blackstone shares gained 1.1% to $136.31 Thursday in the wake of its earnings news as investors focused on rising investment deployments and positive management comments on the firm’s outlook.

The firm’s nearly $40 billion of inflows and $34 billion of capital deployment during the second quarter marked “the highest level of investment activity in two years,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman said in a statement.

Citi analyst Christopher Allen wrote in a note to clients on Thursday that while Blackstone’s overall performance was mixed, the outlook appears to be improving given fund-raising and deployment trends.

Investors also were heartened by Blackstone President Jon Gray’s comments about a bottoming in commercial real estate and strong capital deployment in that area.

But ultimately, the game for Blackstone and its alternatives peers is about performance—particularly beating low-fee public investments like the S&P 500. That seems to be getting more difficult.