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  • Top 10 game-worn basketball shoes sold at auction
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • 10basketballgame-wornTop

Top 10 game-worn basketball shoes sold at auction

We've all lusted over a pair of retro Jordans in our time, sat in the shop considering forking out a couple of hundred bucks for the latest pair.

Then there are some of us who collect basketball shoes by the dozen, with wardrobes full of classic kicks modelled on those worn by NBA stars.

But there are collectors who go that one step further, buying up the actual game-worn shoes.

Battered, bruised and likely several sizes too big, they are coveted for their connection to the greats.

They won't make you jump any higher or improve your game, but will guarantee you the envy of fellow basketball obsessed friends.

Paul Fraser Collectibles looks at the top 10 pairs sold at auction.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Adidas Jabbar - $4,673 - SCP Auctions


Image: SCP Auctions



Before Michael Jordan stepped out in Air Jordans, before Magic Johnson donned his Converse Weapons, there was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his eponymous Adidas.

A classic design, collectors still go crazy for them now, with the "Blueprint Hi" Jabbars creating a frenzy when Adidas teased their return earlier this year.

Yet owning a pair of the originals, signed by Jabbar himself, is sure to get you more street cred.

This pair was worn by Jabbar in his 1981-1982 season for the Lakers, which was one of many titles they won during the "Showtime" era - no easy feat in a league that counted Larry Bird and Julius Erving among its players.

Kobe Bryant Adidas Kobe 2 USA Flag prototypes - $7,059 - Goldin Auctions


Image: Goldin Auctions



Remember when Kobe wore his all-American sneakers for the opening game of the 2001/2002 season in memory of 9/11 victims?

These are the prototypes.

Only 30 pairs of the final shoes were ever produced, all in Kobe's size (US 13).  However, these are one of only two known prototype pairs, and still have the Adidas corporate tag inside, detailing the project number, name of the shoe and serial number.

They were even accompanied by a letter of authenticity from the senior footwear development manager (what a job!) for Adidas Basketball.

Kobe's shoes with Adidas polarised opinions, and many prefer his late Nike models. However, these remain some of the most famous to have graced the Black Mamba's feet.

Magic Johnson Converse Weapon - $7,170 - Heritage Auctions


Image: Heritage Auctions



An all-time classic among basketball shoes.

Converse dominated the world of basketball shoes from the beginning, but when these shoes were released back in 1986, the company was having its title challenged by the likes of Nike and Adidas for the first time.

Hence the name, "Weapon".

Despite their intense rivalry, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson both wore the Converse Weapon back in the day: Bird in his dark and serious black and white versions, while Johnson rocked the classic gold and purple Lakers edition.

This is the very same pair that Johnson wore for the memorable 1986-1987 season, with "MAGIC" written down the side in purple.

An impressive size 14, they were given to a Milwaukee Bucks ball boy following a game. Yet, lured with the temptation of new shoes, that ball boy was convinced to exchange the game-worn shoes with a local store, who then displayed them in the window.

Little did he know they'd later sell for $7,170 in 2013 - you could by a whole lot of brand new sneakers for that.

George "Iceman" Gervin Nikes - $7,767 - Heritage Auctions 2008


Image: Heritage Auctions



When Denver's David Thompson closed the Nuggets' season a full 57 points ahead of George Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs, Gervin though he'd never grab the scoring title.

His teammates had other plans…

In the Spurs' last game of the season, the team passed the ball to the Iceman at every opportunity, paving the way for an astonishing 63-point game - a target Gervin had never reached to that point and didn't even think possible.  

These are the shoes he wore in that game against the New Orleans Jazz back in 1978. He's signed them "George Iceman Gervin #44".

If you want to go retro Nike, these are the way forward. The addition of "Ice Man" on the back in big bold letters will make you the envy of everyone on the court.

Kevin Durant Nike KD2 - $9,560 - Heritage Auctions 2013


Image: Heritage Auctions



Kevin Durant has been a certified star ever since his days at the University of Texas, averaging 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in the first and only year he played in college, earning the John R Wooden Award.

Entering the NBA with the Seattle Supersonics, he became Rookie of the Year, before moving to Oklahoma City Thunder the following season.

It was inevitable he would be called up to the All-Star team, and that call came in the 2009-2010 season.

These are the Nike KD2s he wore as he stepped out in front of a record crowd at Cowboys Stadium. With tags removed, they are signed by Durant for one of his friends and remain the best item of Durant memorabilia to have hit the auction block.

Julius Erving Converse Allstar Chuck Taylor - $10,025 - SCP Auctions 2014


Image: SCP Auctions



Dr J was one of the best dunkers ever to grace the NBA, and he didn't need fancy shoes to do it. No amount of futuristic spring technology or go-faster stripes will help if you only have a two-inch vertical.

All Dr J needed was a classic pair of Converse All-Star, sized 15, to be able to dunk from the free throw line.

This pair date from his days in college - the only known pair from that era - when he joined the freshman team of the UMASS Redmen (later changed to Minutemen).

College newcomers were required to play freshman ball back then, regardless of their abilities. But Erving had been attracting crowds to Rucker Park for years, famed for his street ball skills, and soon led the team to a 15-0 record during the season.

Playing sophomore the following year, he averaged 26.2 points and 20.2 rebounds in his only two seasons. Only four other players have finished with a 20-20 career average in NCAA history.

LeBron Nike Flywire "Newtown, CT" - $27,568 - SCP Auctions 2013


Image: SCP Auctions



Not only is King James one of the best to hit the courts in recent years, he's also a good guy.

In support of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, he wrote "Newtown, CT" on his shoes before Miami Heat's December 15, 2012 game against the Washington Wizards. The teams took part in a moment of silence and brought out their own kids to the floor.

LeBron then consigned the shoes to SCP Auctions, with profits to benefit the families of those affected. He also added his signature and "vs. Wizards 12/15/12 Never Forget".

Collectors made big bids for the shoes, which sold for $27,584.

Kobe Bryant's Nike Beijing Summer Olympics - $37,740 - Goldin Auctions


Image: Goldin Auctions



Let's face it, the USA have an unfair a

  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • 10basketballgame-wornTop