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The most significant practice sneaker in history?

Posted on August 02 2020

"There may be no practice-worn sneaker in existence that is as significant as this one."

As you likely know if you're well-versed in Air Jordan history, Micheal Jordan famously hit his "Last Shot" as a Chicago Bull by winning the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz while wearing the Air Jordan 14. Jordan debuted the brand new Air Jordan 14 in that Finals series, months before it would release at retail in 1999. Had Jordan opted to continue wearing the Air Jordan 13 for the Finals, which he had worn for the entirety of the 1997-98 season, the world would have never seen him play in the Air Jordan 14 and it would have been forever grouped with the post-Bulls era of Air Jordans.

Instead, and perhaps knowing that his would be his last chance to hit the court in a brand-new signature shoe, Jordan laced up his fourteenth model on the biggest stage of his final season with the Bulls. And the rest is basketball and sneaker history.

But naturally, Jordan didn't go straight from the Air Jordan 13 to the Air Jordan 14 in the most important games of his season without some test runs in the new model. If the black-and-red colorway Jordan wore in the Finals is now nicknamed the "Last Shot" colorway, maybe the original white-and-red version should be known as the "Last Practice" colorway.
That's because this very pair you see here, which is available in the "ORIGINAL AIR: Michael Jordan Game-Worn and Player Exclusive Sneaker Rarities" auction by Christie's and Stadium Goods, was worn by Jordan in practice between games of the '98 Finals.
This is a pair of the “Chicago” colorway of the Jordan 14 Player Exclusive produced exclusively for Jordan.

The coding on the tongue tag denotes that this was an early edition of the Jordan 14 produced just for Jordan.
This pair is actually seen in footage in “The Last Dance” documentary of Jordan practicing between '98 Finals games. As Jordan wore these for a very brief period of time, this is an extremely rare model and colorway to find with MJ coding and wear. This incredible pair was sourced from the son of one of Jordan's Chicago Bulls teammates, who wishes to remain anonymous.

 

The ORIGINAL AIR: Michael Jordan Game-Worn and Player Exclusive Sneaker Rarities auction is live July 30-August 13, 2020.