Be like Mike – and get featured twice on Straat Your Stuff. We’re talking to Mike Neo again, this time about his massive collection of Michael Jordan memorabilia.
Seven years ago, when we spoke to Mike Neo, he had so much stuff we decided to focus on just his sneakers. Now, with The Last Dance having just wrapped up and Michael Jordan at the front and center stage of pop culture again, we decided it was time to have a second conversation with Mike.
Why are you such a huge fan of Michael Jordan?
Growing up, I have always admired Michael Jordan’s work etiquette, how badly he wants to win in life and prove everyone wrong. His level of competitiveness is out of this world. I can’t think of another person I look up to.
What’s your earliest memory of Jordan?
I picked up basketball back in 1995. I remember going to the library almost every few days to look for articles about Michael Jordan. That’s how I tried to improve my game; by doing research on the best player to ever play the game of basketball.
Do you think The Last Dance has helped revive MJ’s popularity?
Michael Jordan’s popularity was never in question and revival is definitely not required. The Last Dance documentary was definitely something beautifully made to bring all the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan fans down memory lane once again. It shows how the standard was being set by Michael Jordan back in the ’80s and ’90s and his lasting legacy on the game.
By estimate, how many Michael Jordan memorabilia items do you think you have?
I would think I have at least 500 items. About 200 of them are brand new Air Jordan shoes kept in my showcase.
What’s the oldest item in your collection?
The oldest item has to be the Air Jordan 1 Chicago from 1985, I remember acquiring them in 2006.
What is the rarest item in your collection? How much do you think it’s worth right now?
In my collection, the Black History Month “Just Don” Air Jordan 1 has to be the rarest as there were only 37 pairs ever made. However, that is not my most prized possession at home.
I have autographed jerseys, numbered statues and many other limited memorabilia but I would rank the Jordan 1 from 1985 to be my most favorite item as I am still wearing them out to this day. It reminds me how lucky I was to be able to find them and the price at which I paid for them. I will not be able to put a price tag on their value now.
How did you go about acquiring your collection?
On my search for Michael Jordan collectibles, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some really good friends who have helped me along the way.
Can you talk us through the process of the most memorable acquisition?
That has to be the Royal Blue Air Jordan 1 High. I remember tracking down a US-based collector who had a pair in my size – US9.5 – and his condition on letting me have the pair was to find one in his size US8.5. Thankfully it took me a little less than half a year to find one in his size and we were able to complete the trade. Imagine the trust we had to have in each other given that we could only communicate using only email back then.
What do you intend to do with your collection – stock for life or sell them at some point?
My good friends and I have acquired a four-storey space, which we intend to convert into a showroom for luxury cars (check them out: Acquired Cars). I am likely to move my collection and have it displayed in the premise. At the same time, we’re also working on a new project that involves curating collectibles.
Who’s your favorite basketball player and team these days?
I will have to say it is LeBron James. It’s impressive how he presents himself off the court. Given how the trades are happening currently in the NBA, I’m not able to say which is my favorite team. I love the game of basketball; I do appreciate good gameplay over individual players
It has been seven years since we last saw your collection of sneakers – do you have as many as you did back then?
Seven years ago, I had more than 400 pairs of Air Jordan. I have since downsized to about 200 pairs after a home renovation. I’m still buying shoes but I wear them out rather than keep them unworn in my display. It’s great that Jordan brand is still producing retro models more often now so we’re able to buy them more easily. I also try to get a new Jordan performance pair each year.