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Michael Jordan sneakers, with broken backboard glass in the sole, bring record price at auction

A Christie's representative shows Michael Jordan's size 13.5 shoe. (Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

An unusual pair of Michael Jordan’s signed, game-worn Nikes drew a record price at auction last week.

An unidentified buyer paid $615,000 for the red, black and white Nike Air Jordan 1 sneakers that were worn during a 1985 exhibition game in Trieste, Italy, according to Christie’s.

What makes the item remarkable, according to Christie’s, is a shard of glass that remains embedded in the sole of the left shoe, a byproduct of a backboard shattered by a Jordan dunk. It is, the auction house said, “a one-of-a-kind Michael Jordan artifact,” but it still brought below Christie’s pre-auction estimates of $650,000 to $850,000

Three months ago, a Nike Air Jordan 1 pair from Jordan’s rookie season went for a then-record $560,000 in a Sotheby’s auction. Those also were game-worn and autographed. The sale took place the same day ESPN broadcast the final installment of “The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary on his career and final season with the Chicago Bulls.

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The record-setting shoes were part of an online auction of Jordan footwear. A pair of shoes worn by Jordan in the Dream Team’s gold medal game in the 1992 Olympics brought $112,500 in the same auction, which was held in cooperation with Stadium Goods. Nine lots of Jordan gear sold for a total of $931,875, including buyers’ fees, Christie’s said, and only two lots went unsold.

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