Bidding Basketball: Original Air Jordan 1 & NBA JAM Arcade Machine

11.19.10 7 years ago 2 Comments

The NBA and adidas may have an exclusive merchandising deal, but the $400 million-plus agreement is definitely not respected on eBay. Even if the Association expands into Europe, Stern won’t be able to stop the movement of Bill Laimbeer video games, old Jordans and bootleg laundry bags from one fan to another. Then again, why would he? eBay’s stockroom beats any store’s, and a fan wearing a jersey is still a fan wearing a jersey. Stay tuned for a look at cheaper, misspelled NBA-related gems, as well as the expensive, hurt-your-feelings stuff.

(Note: I do not own any of these particular items.)

1985 Original Nike Air Jordan 1 OG Carolina Blue

Dead Auction: 1985 Original Nike Air Jordan 1 OG Carolina Blue
There are neck breakers, and there are 1985 Carolina Highs. Jordan Brand’s recent omnipresence is due in no small part to the umpteen retros of Jordan Is spanning most of the color spectrum. These originals, last retroed as a patent mid in 2003, have a lower toebox and slimmer profile compared to the new crop, and will stick out. This difference takes nothing away from Jordan Brand’s recent Jordan I retros – some of which are already classics – but will drive up the price of an original.

The auction ended at $300, a hefty chunk of change for a model this beat, but the shoe is in better shape than pictures let on. A Magic Eraser will clean up the yellowing, and the soles are wearable. These could be worn for another 25 years, so long as it’s not Oliver Miller doing the walking. They won’t look deadstock by any means, but they could pass for average. Considering the dearth of Carolina Is in respectable sizing, the buyer got a deal.

Dead auction scouting report:
Auction details: Found item, unrestored, sold for $296, power seller, $699 Buy It Now, 18 bids.
Condition: Poor but wearable. Scraped paint on the toebox, yellowed midsoles, but damage is mostly cosmetic and fixable by Magic Eraser and elbow grease. They won’t look deadstock, but they could pass for average. Soles look fine and leather appears soft.
Retro status: This shoe was retroed in 2003 as a patent mid.
Ephemera: Michael Jordan wanted to sign with Converse, because of Dr. J, but met with Nike on his agent David Falk‘s advice.
Price and market: Was it a good deal? Too few of these become available, so prices fluctuate. Pairs run around $700 per pair in Japan. Prices should climb the rarer the size, but 8.5 and below might see slight discounts.
Verdict: Good value buy if cleaned well. Most likely sold to a cleaning whiz or a re-seller.

NBA JAM Upright Arcade Machine

Live Auction: NBA JAM Upright Arcade Machine
The new NBA JAM, releasing this week on PS3 and Xbox 360, is by all accounts an excellent game. The 1993 original – giant heads, no rules, “He’s on fire,” Bill Clinton dunking – was so outstanding that even a competent reissue would have satisfied diehards and made new fans. But credit EA, the new game’s developer, for adding a third player to the classic duo system as well as motion control and unlockable classic characters. These gambles helped the new version become not just a success, but a logical conclusion to the what might have been the most creative sports game of all-time.

Still, the arcade game is in many ways inimitable. While the new version has fan-picked rosters, 3D, HD and even the Raptors mascot, yesteryear studs like Hersey Hawkins, Mike Iuzzolino and Charles Oakley are only available on arcade. Now, the seller is asking $900, a ton compared to the new version. But come on … Oakley? NBA JAM? Do you even have to think about it? It comes down to a choice: You can do the sensible thing and buy the Wii version, what GamesRadar considers a “virtually perfect” game, and have a hell of a time. Or you could do the even more sensible thing – it’s not like you won’t eventually pump $900 in quarters into any working NBA JAM arcade machine – and Buy It Now, relive the Oakley to Ewing glory days and recede from society completely. Which do you choose?

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