Bidding has almost closed on a pair of sneakers worn by the late basketball player Kobe Bryant, thought to be the Los Angeles Lakers star’s first Nike (NKE) shoe. The current highest bid is for 24,000 Swiss francs (£19,470, $26,072).
According to the Sotheby's website, which has listed the item, the shoe is expected to fetch between CHF 26,000 to CHF 35,000.
Bryant signed a deal with Nike in the summer of 2003. The Air Zoom Huarache 2K4 was a twist on the original Huarache shoe made in 1991 and was worn by Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 106-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in 2004 at the Staples Center California
The new version “incorporated the style, comfort, and performance" of the original, according to Sotheby's listing, and “brought back classic basketball design principles in a very modern way.”
“Leaving an ineradicable mark on basketball and in the hearts and minds of fans, he [Bryant] brought a unique approach to the game with his passion and dedication which earned him five NBA Championships, four NBA All-Star Game most valuable player [MVP] awards, two NBA Finals MVP awards, and 2 Olympic Gold Medals,” said the listing.
The sneakers are accompanied by a certificate from The MeiGray Group, which authenticates sports memorabilia.
Bryant died on 26 January last year in a helicopter crash that also killed all eight other people on board, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. He is survived by his wife Vanessa and daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
Bryant had his own sneaker line with Nike that was incredibly popular. But last spring, Nike and Vanessa announced they were parting ways after the shoe giant's deal with the late player ended.
There had already been production delays and now there are no more Kobes being produced, which means the most popular sneaker among NBA players is also the hardest to get.
Several players have told ESPN they've spent more than five figures buying supplies of Kobes on the secondary market.
Last month, The Guardian said "old trainers have apparently become the new Picassos" after a pair of white and red leather high-tops made by Nike and worn by basketball star Michael Jordan sold for roughly $1.5m (£1.1m).