Thursday, March 13, 2008

The insanity of PE basketball sneaker collecting, and the pitfalls...

So for anyone who is not a sneakerfreak/ collector, the holy grail of any one's collection are the models of sneakers produced only for the signature athlete in their favorite colors or designs. These sneakers are made in laughable quantities (sometimes only 1 pair) and are worn by the athlete and the athlete only for a game. Game worn sneakers have now garnered their own marketplace with some sneakers going for $10,000+. Naturally, the game worn sneakers of some players are worth more then others (Harold Miner game worn shoe? $50). Michael Jordan's game worn sneakers are the most valuable, with a recent pair of size 13.5 Jordan game worn PE's (Player Editions) X's going for more then $20,000 on eBay. (see pic)
Recently, on the Web's biggest Sneaker message board, a semi-scandal broke out when it was discovered that some owners of these "Rare" sneakers were being duped by a Nike factory worker in China with the help of one of the US based Niketalk members. The factory worker got his hands on sample stickers and stitching, acquired several old pairs of the original sneakers (regular store releases) and doctored them using stitching and glue to pass them of as PE game worn sneakers in different colors. Many people have been fooled by this scam, and a pall has descended on top of the high stakes PE collector game. Luckily, I never had the money (had the desire though!) to ever get into this crazy exclusive world, so I am not affected, but I feel absolutely horrible for those that have been (one Niketalk member divulged that he had been taken recently for $3000!) I guess that even in the sneaker game, knowledge is power. The only reason this scandal was brought to light were that some members and longtime sneaker collectors were able to call in resources at Jordan Brand to conclude whether some of the sneakers in question had ever even been made for Michael. The response, according to one of them, was a Jordan Brand meeting full of laughter at the pictures. Fakes, anyone?

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