How much would you be willing to pay for a pair of sneakers? For most people, the answer to this question is rational. You’d essentially pay for what you can afford. But for most sneaker collectors and aficionados, the question becomes a bit more complicated. Having a shoe collection is certainly an expensive hobby, but to pay thousands upon thousands for a single pair may be considered borderline crazy by many. However, there are a few shoes out there that might be truly worth the cost. One example is the Air Jordan VII Kobe Bryant Player Exclusive. A hardcore collector purchased this one of a kind pair for a whopping $25,000 back in 2015. Here’s a closer look as to why the shoes might have been worth every single penny.
The fact that the shoes were Air Jordans to begin with puts the shoes on a higher pedestal off the bat. According to this article from Solecollector.com, there are quite a few Air Jordans that have sold at the five-figure mark. It also isn’t too unusual for shoe collectors to heavily acquire Air Jordan shoes because the brand tends to attract buyers easily. When Jordans come out on the market, people line up to purchase a pair or maybe even two or several. Some of the styles don’t last on the shelves too long because of rarity or other special qualities. Air Jordans are the type of shoes that will truly never go out of style, and that’s largely because of the legacy that the namesake has established.
Michael Jordan is truly a living legend, and the brand he has created with Nike has been and will continue to be one of the best sneaker brands that was ever made. Jordan’s shoes are not only stylish and one of a kind; they’re also well made, durable, and pretty reliable basketball shoes. The best part about Jordans is that they’ve evolved to become attractive street wear as well. They’re not only made for the court but for daily wear also. However, most collectors wouldn’t dare wear their shoes at all—especially if they cost more than someone’s car.
Jordan is arguably the best basketball player that ever played the game, but he’s not the only one that could carry that title. Kobe Bryant is another basketball legend, and his name on a pair of shoes carries a lot of significance and weight. Kobe now has his own brand partnership with Nike, but there was a time when he didn’t have any contract with a particular shoe company. Complex.com writes that the Air Jordan VII was created specifically for Kobe during the early 2000s. Kobe was essentially available to pick a company to partner with; and given his basketball status at the time, Nike had a lot of competitors that were also vying for Kobe’s loyalty. It must’ve been hard to refuse Nike because the design they offered Kobe to wear was one uniquely created Air Jordan VII. Given the popularity of the shoes, the legacy behind them, and the overall look and style of the Air Jordan VII, Kobe just couldn’t say no. Nike didn’t hold back because Kobe was such a big name to add to the company’s talent roster. The Air Jordan VII has an all-black body with trimmings in Lakers colors: purple and yellow. It’s got the Air Jordan insignia on the outer sides of both shoes and Kobe’s uniform number, 8, on the inside parts by the ankle. Nike’s design was definitely attractive. Sure enough, Kobe signed a contract with the shoe giant in 2003, and the basketball star continues to produce shoes with the brand to this day.
Given the fact that the shoes were Air Jordans and that they were player exclusive shoes, it’s still hard to imagine why they would cost so much. It’s even harder to imagine why anyone would pay that amount just to obtain old shoes—no these shoes are definitely not new. While in very good condition, the shoes happen to have something that not many Air Jordan VII Kobe Bryant PE’s do—Kobe’s signature. Not to gross anyone out but these shoes also happen to contain Kobe’s DNA somewhat given that he actually wore and played ball with these shoes for some time. According to TMZ.com, the model in question was worn by Kobe during game night on February 6, 2003, against the Knicks. Kobe only scored 46 points that game, so that easily added to the appeal of the shoes already. The shoes eventually ended up in the hands of Portland’s IndexPDX shoe shop co-owner, Mike Nguyen. Nguyen says that as soon as he put the rare Air Jordan VII up for sale, he received nonstop offers from serious sneaker collectors everywhere. We could imagine that it must have been a fight to the very end, even though not many people could afford $25k to begin with. Still, many collectors save up and wait for a moment exactly like what Nguyen presented—to have access to shoes as rare as this particular one
The buyer requested that Nguyen keep his identity private, and it’s probably the best that way. He did spend a large sum just to obtain one pair of shoes, and if that were I, I wouldn’t want too many strangers to know that I did just that.
Everything about these shoes points out to something or someone pretty incredible. The shoes were created by a great and worn by a great on a great night of basketball. The fact that the Air Jordan VII’s were signed by Kobe is like the cherry on top. Sure, Nike has produced plenty of beautiful sneakers over the years, but there isn’t going to be another one of these PE shoes—ever. That meant $25,000 less in the bank for someone, but the shoes are also a decent investment. Give this pair a few years in proper storage, and when all the stars align, it might make its buyer a whole lot more than what he spent. That alone makes this a worthwhile investment.
Written by Dana Hanson
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