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Michael Jordan game-worn rookie sneakers sell for record $1.47M

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A pair of Michael Jordan game-worn sneakers from his rookie season sold for $1.472 million to high-end card collector Nick Fiorella on Sunday during Sotheby’s Icons of Excellence and Haute Luxury auction in Las Vegas, shattering the record for most expensive game-worn footwear.

The sneakers were donned in Jordan’s fifth-ever NBA game, a 17-point, 5-rebound and 5-assist outing against the Denver Nuggets. Photo matching purports that the sneakers could’ve been worn even earlier.

The shoes are Nike Air Ships, designed by sneaker icon Bruce Kilgore — who created Nike Air Force 1s in 1982 and went on to design the Air Jordan IIs. The legend is that when Nike first made a deal with Jordan in 1984, his first signature shoe (Air Jordan 1s) weren’t ready. In the meantime, Nike supplied Jordan with Air Ships — but Jordan’s were so colorful that the NBA informed him they violated the uniform clause.

This pair, notably, was signed by Jordan, as well as gifted to, maintained, and now sold by former Nuggets ball boy TJ Lewis.

Brahm Wachter, who heads up Sotheby’s Streetwear and Modern Collectables arm, said: “From the moment news broke of these sneakers, it generated huge [buzz]. This exceptional result for the Jordan Nike Air Ships speaks not only to the strength of the collectibles market but also to the esteem with which Michael Jordan’s items and the Jordan franchise are held.”

The previous record for game-worn sneakers were, unsurprisingly, also a pair of Jordan’s. In a preseason exhibition in Italy in 1985, Jordan shattered a backboard with a dunk. The Air Jordan 1s he was wearing that game — still with a piece of glass in the sole of the left shoe — sold at a Christie’s auction in August of 2020 for $615,000.

The Jordan Air Ships are the second most expensive footwear ever sold at auction; the Yeezy 1 prototypes Kanye West publicly revealed and wore at the 2008 Grammys were sold for $1.8 million with Sotheby’s this past April.

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Golden State Warriors distance from minority owner after his comments about Uyghurs

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SAN FRANCISCO — Billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, is under fire for saying “nobody cares” about the Uyghurs in China, and the team is distancing itself from him.

On the latest edition of his All-In Podcast, Palihapitiya dismissed the situation in China, which is accused by the U.S. of genocide and crimes against humanity because of the treatment of the Uyghurs Muslim minority population in the Xinjiang region in northwest China.

“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, OK?” Palihapitiya said at the nearly 15-minute mark of the show from Saturday. “… I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth, OK, of all the things that I care about, yes it is below my line.”

Golden State swiftly reacted Monday by saying Palihapitiya’s views aren’t reflective of those of the team.

“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” the Warriors said in a statement.

Palihapitiya, who was born in Sri Lanka, later backtracked. In a Twitter post to his 1.5 million followers, he wrote that “important issues deserve nuanced discussions. Some clarifying comments:

“In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy. I acknowledge that entirely. As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop.”

Swiss-born Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom expressed his outrage on social media.

“When @NBA says we stand for justice, don’t forget there are those who sell their soul for money & business like @chamath the owner of @warriors who says `Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs.’ When genocides happen, it is people like this that let it happen. Shame!”

After Tuesday’s shootaround, Warriors star Andrew Wiggins was asked about Palihapitiya’s comments and made it clear they have different beliefs.

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Sources — LA Clippers extending Paul George’s period of rest a few more weeks to see how elbow responds

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The LA Clippers are extending Paul George‘s period of rest for the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow a few more weeks to see how it responds, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

George has not played since scoring 17 points in a win at the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 22. He initially suffered a sprained elbow against the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 6, and rested and rehabbed for two weeks, missing five games. He felt better and returned to play in two games, but after feeling pain in the elbow, he underwent an MRI and the Clippers revealed on Dec. 25 that he had a torn UCL in his shooting elbow.

The initial timetable George would need to see how the elbow healed was three to four weeks before being reevaluated.

The Clippers were 17-15 when George last played. Without their star guard, the Clippers have gone 5-8 since.

Coach Ty Lue’s team has been hit hard by injuries and COVID-19. It entered the season without Kawhi Leonard, who is rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in Game 4 of the Clippers’ second-round series against the Utah Jazz on June 14. They also have had to play stretches without starters such as Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Ivica Zubac at times this season.

The Clips enter a difficult stretch in which they play their next eight games on the road.

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Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner has stress fracture in foot, expected to be out beyond trade deadline, sources say

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Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner is expected to be sidelined beyond the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, as the two-time NBA blocks champion recovers from a stress fracture in his left foot.

The Pacers on Tuesday said Turner will be reexamined in two weeks, but teams interested in trading for him will have to do their due diligence on his injury as they weigh offers.

Turner has been central to Indiana’s trade talks and a number of teams have shown interest, sources told ESPN. The injury doesn’t make a trade impossible, but it certainly could be an obstacle in the Pacers getting max value for him at the deadline. Indiana also can always wait for the offseason to make a deal.

Turner, 25, who has led the NBA in blocks during the 2019 and 2021 seasons, is averaging 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game this season.

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