Former Gatorade exec auctioning off Michael Jordan items
Photos of the Bulls legend and NBA Hall of Famer through the years.
Many of the Michael Jordan sports memorabilia items Bill Schmidt collected over the years "sat in the back of my mind and my attic," he said.
Now, many of them will belong to others.
Schmidt is auctioning more than four dozen Jordan-related pieces on the Steiner Auctions Block called "Rare Air Artifacts."
Schmidt is the former vice president of worldwide sports marketing for Gatorade. He negotiated Jordan’s endorsement contract with the company and was gifted items over the years through his friendship and business dealings with the NBA Hall of Famer. Schmidt was instrumental in developing the "Be Like Mike" advertising campaign and frequently attended Bulls games when Jordan played in Chicago.
Some of the more noteworthy items in the collection:
• Nike Air Jordan game-used autograph size 13 sneakers from the 1992-93 season. (Bidding as of Tuesday morning was at $2,860.)
• Game-worn baseball cleats signed by Jordan ($6,134).
• Game-worn shorts from 1992-92 season ($750).
• No. 45 signed Bulls jersey ($733).
• Game-used autographed jersey from Jordan’s first championship season in 1990-91 ($5,363).
• A signed seat cover from Jordan’s on-court chair from the 1992 season ($807).
Bidding for the "2017 Mid-Summer Classic" auction, which also includes memorabilia from other sports stars, ends July 29.
Schmidt said he’s never sold items before. He said he will donate some of the money from the auction to charities.
"I have a great relationship with Michael," he said. "I have great memories and great stories. After 30 some years, (the memorabilia) builds up."
The idea of auctioning items arose when he had considered selling his house in Tennessee and was going through items realizing he didn’t need many of them.
"It’s just me and the dog," he said.
He still owns items he doesn’t plan to part with: 60 signed baseballs and basketballs, a LeRoy Neiman painting signed by the artist and Jordan, and a smaller replica of the Jordan statue that sits outside of the United Center.
He keeps most of his sports memorabilia out of sight, he said. But "my upstairs hallways might look like a museum."
Schmidt said the auctioned items are special because of Jordan’s status as a sports icon.
"He’s definitely the greatest," Schmidt said.