It has been 14 years since Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan last played an NBA game. That hasn’t softened the marketplace for Jordan memorabilia.
A pair of Jordan’s size-13 Converse shoes, worn in the gold medal game at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, sold last month for more than $190,000. A Google search of “Michael Jordan memorabilia” Tuesday offered about 763,000 results.
With that market in mind, former Gatorade executive Bill Schmidt has decided to sell his collection of Jordan jerseys, shorts, shoes, etc., via an online auction this month.
Schmidt was Gatorade’s vice president of global sports marketing for 15 years and was based in Chicago when Jordan starred for the Chicago Bulls. Raised in the Pittsburgh area, Schmidt was a javelin-thrower in the 1972 Munich Olympics, winning a bronze medal for the United States.
Now retired in Knoxville, Tenn., Schmidt said he plans to donate the proceeds, minus expenses, to charity.
“This is a way of letting someone else enjoy these items,” said Schmidt, who spent 30 years in various sports-marketing enterprises.
What is it about Jordan that still makes him iconic so long after he retired as a player?
“People keep saying, ‘Here’s the next Michael Jordan. ... Here’s the next Michael Jordan.’ We’re not going to see another one,” Schmidt said.
Among the items in Schmidt’s collection:
▪ A game-worn jersey from Jordan’s first championship season in 1990-91.
▪ A pair of signed Air Jordan 7 shoes from the 1992-93 Bulls championship season.
▪ Uniforms and cleats from Jordan’s baseball season the summer of 1994, playing for Chicago White Sox affiliate, the Birmingham (Ala.) Barons.
▪ A Jordan-signed golf hat from Augusta National, home of the Masters.
▪ A Jordan-signed copy of the “Rare Air” coffee-table book.
The online auction runs through July 29 at 1 p.m. For details and bidding, visit www.steinerauctions.com.