Nike Sneakers Produced for Spike Lee, Found in a Donation Bin, Fetch More Than $50,000 at Auction

The shoes were anonymously donated to Portland Rescue Mission earlier this year.

Shoe Details at 91st Annual Academy Awards Ceremony Red Carpet (2019). Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A rare pair of custom Air Jordan 3s produced for film director Spike Lee have sold for $50,800 at Sotheby’s after the sneakers were found in a donation bin at an Oregon homeless charity earlier this year.

The gold-painted Air Jordan 3s, one of only a few manufactured pairs made for the filmmaker by Nike’s Tinker Hatfield, were created for Lee to gift to his inner circle. One pair was worn by Lee when he accepted the Academy Award for BlacKkKlansman in 2019. Both Spike Lee’s and Tinker Hatfield’s names are embroidered into the size 12.5 shoes and they also feature the logo of Lee’s production company, 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks, founded in 1979.

Spike Lee Jumps into Samuel L. Jackson's Arms at the 91st Annual Academy Awards Ceremony (2019) .Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images.

Spike Lee, wearing the custom Air Jordan 3s, onstage at the 91st Annual Academy Awards Ceremony in 2019. Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images.

The sneakers were found this April at Oregon’s Burnside Shelter, which is run by Portland Rescue Mission. The charity was founded in 1949, and provides food, shelter, clothing, and addiction recovery programs to people struggling with homelessness.

In a blog post, the Portland Rescue Mission explained how a volunteer found the shoes while sorting through donations which drop down through a chute. “Obviously they must be fakes, we thought, because why would the real thing end up in our donation bins?” said Erin Holcomb, the director of the program.

Holcomb explained that they took the shoes to a “high end sneaker resale shop” to get its opinion on their authenticity, and that the owner “offered to buy them from me on the spot for $10,000 or to consign them in his store for a potentially larger return.” Holcomb did further research and found that another pair had been auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2021 and sold for $47,880.

Photo courtesy of Sothebys.

Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro “Spike Lee Oscars.” Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

She organized with the auction house to have them included in Sotheby’s December 18 sale, which featured “some of the most sought-after collectibles and sneakers in existence.” Hatfield was contacted by Portland Rescue Mission and agreed to sign the shoes and also donated a box for the sneakers with a framed concept design.

The pair came to auction with a $15,000–$20,000 estimate and sold for $50,800, after a few last-minute bids. Sotheby’s has waived its fee so that 100 percent of the money raised will go to Portland Rescue Mission.

Photo courtesy of Sothebys.

Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro “Spike Lee Oscars” with Tinker Hatfield signed box and concept design. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Nike had previously released the Jordan Spiz’ike line of shoes as tribute to Michael Jordan and Spike Lee’s relationship, part of what Sotheby’s called Spike Lee’s “ongoing love affair of all things Nike and Jordan Brand.” Lee starred in Nike commercials for Air Jordans from 1990, playing his character Mars Blackmon from his 1986 film She’s Gotta Have It.

No one knows who donated the shoes. Tinker has said that he is “thrilled the shoes ended up here. It’s a happy ending to a really great project.”


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