Why would we want to revisit MJ’s 32nd birthday in the middle of summer? Because this might be some of the rarest “Air” you’ll ever see. 1 of 10 Air Jordans made for MJ on his birthday, but to really understand their value, you need to know the backstory.
On February 7th, 1995, Michael Jordan’s now ex-wife, Juanita Jordan threw a birthday party for the GOAT to celebrate his 32nd trip around the sun. It was held at his steakhouse in Chicago, Illinois, which back in the day was to the basketball world what Green Mill was to Al Capone’s world, minus the violence of course.
What makes MJ’s 32nd birthday more special than some of his others, is that it came at one of the biggest turning points in his life. On October 6th, 1993, MJ stepped away from the game of basketball stating a loss of desire to play the game, the reason for walking away has been in question ever since. Michael would eventually point to his father’s murder as one of the main motivations for leaving the game.
Speculation has left plenty of fans with doubts but a few months later in February of 1994, MJ signed a minor league contract to play baseball for the Chicago White Sox.
Everyone has heard the stories of Michael Jordan’s passion for baseball. It was said that MJ was even better at baseball than he was at basketball during his teenage years. Jordan played during spring training in Florida, the Arizona Fall League, and with the Double-A White Sox affiliate, Birmingham Barons.
Two things should be noted about MJ’s baseball career. First off, the owner of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf, continued to pay Michael his NBA contract during this time. Reinsdorf was also the owner of the Chicago White Sox, which for the conspiracy theorists, added even more question to Jordan’s first retirement.
On November 1, 1994, the Chicago Bulls retired Michael Jordan’s #23 and honored him with a bronze statue called, TheSpirit, outside of the United Center. For its dedication, MJ wore the black leather, metal-studded, jacket that is rumored to have inspired the Supreme x Air Jordan 14.
Now back to the birthday party. To celebrate MJ, his former wife Juanita had silver-cast Air Jordan 1s made, along with silver-cast Wilson baseball gloves made. It turns out, these were 1 of 10 Air Jordans, 1 of 10 of the gloves made. 2 of each, MJ kept for himself, 1 of each, was kept by the manufacturer, and the rest were sold off through charity auctions. According to Heritage Auctions, who have these incredibly rare creations up for auction, the molds were destroyed shortly after production, so the rarity of these pieces ranks near the top of Michael Jordan memorabilia.
Just one question, did Juanita and Michael know that MJ was planning to announce his return to the Chicago Bulls a few weeks later?
Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with nearly 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector and Sneaker News. Helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, and StockX better connect with their consumers. He's an avid San Francisco Giants fan, Allen Iverson fan, and owns way too many sneakers for his own good.