A pair of basketball shoes carved from butternut wood, and modeled after Air Jordan I's is being auctioned at eBay - with $10,000 the asking price. So far no bids have come in, the the shoes do have a nice back story. Here it is:
Wood (“Butternut” from the North East) Air Jordan I
I wanted something that no one else in the Whole World had, that reminded me of what I always wanted. Growing up around basketball greats, some known and many unknown, I was introduced to a world that I could never dream of by myself. The world I am speaking of is the accessibility to the basketball rims and courts in every neighborhood, including and surrounding my own.
With meager means but a full heart, me and my friends would go to one of the many basketball courts and play for hours, that is, when we weren’t being bullied by the bigger kids that would hog the courts. Unlike a lot of kids in the suburbs, that had driveways with a hoop right next to their houses, those of us who lived closer to the city were blessed if the hoop we were playing on had a net.
We would play until it got dark, and we were forced to go home, until one of the kids learned how to turn the lights on by the City’s outside panel box. We risked everything, from punishment by our parents for coming home late, to electrocution! Why? Because we loved the game! I mean we loved the game for more than just putting a ball in the hoop and hearing the net snap. We loved the game because the game seemed to loved us back, meaning, if you practiced your dribble, jump shot, layup, and eventually your dunk, when you were alone, when it came time to play five on five you were able to be an asset to your fellow team mates and gain a huge amount of respect from them!
Like most kids in my neighborhood, I couldn’t afford name brand anything. My clothes were often hand-me-downs from an older relative, my shoes were purchased from the same place we bought food (and this was before Wal-Mart). Honestly, I didn’t realize I was as poor as I was until one of the kids in my grade wore a brand new pair of Nikes to school, and he told me how much they cost.
Though some were before my time, over the years I tried my best to imitate the greats that dominated the courts like Cornelius L. "Connie" Hawkins, Peter Press "Pistol Pete" Maravich, Julius Winfield “DR J” Erving II, Larry Joe Bird, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr., Darryl Dawkins and many others. At that time I had no clue that my duplicating, and emulating skills would be stretched beyond my human ability and capability.
In 1984 the Chicago Bulls selected a young man from North Carolina University as the 3rd overall draft pick. That young man was none other than Michael Jeffrey Jordan! At 6 ft. 6 in. tall and 216 lbs Michael Jordan changed the game of basketball. Not only did he change it with his phenomenal basketball skills, he changed it by being the first to pioneer the shoes that would take Nike to many more levels, and raise the bar for the other basketball shoe companies as well.
When Michael Jordan played his first game wearing the Air Jordan I’s on November 17, 1984 against the 76ers, I knew that I wanted those shoes. I, like most kids wanted to “Be Like Mike” and I wanted to wear what he was wearing. Unfortunately, for Jordan fans like me and my friends the shoes were not available for purchase when Michael first wore them in 1984, but they were available the following year.
Back then, I never really expressed to my parents how much I really wanted those shoes. I think one of the main reasons why I didn’t tell them is I didn’t want them try to buy them for me because they seemed to always work so hard for the little they had.
When the air Jordan I’s were available in 1985 I still never bought a pair. Why? “Life” happened and personal family issues seemed to be ever present at that time. Every day when I came home from school I had to walk a few miles to a Fast Food restaurant that I started working at, and I was also taking academic courses that took up the rest of my time when I wasn’t working.
Fast forward 30 years… Though I always wanted to, I never owned an actual pair made by Nike. So, in my mid 40’s I was able to get my hands on a signed artist rendition of the 1985 Air Jordan I basketball shoes. I believe that dreams are meant to be shared; therefore I’m making them available for someone who can appreciate them as much as I do.
If you are a Michael Jordan fan, these one of a kind, artist rendition, hand-crafted, autographed, butternut wood Air Jordan I’s will bring happiness, memories, and appreciation to you.
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