The co-branded Nike Air Jordan 1 arrived in a slightly tweaked “Chicago” colorway featuring a glittery, iced-out effect. This was a nod to the theme of the shoe, which is based on the rumor that experienced NBA stars such as Isaiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, and George Gervin planned to “freeze” Michael Jordan out of his rookie All-Star game.
As expected, all pairs sold out immediately following the 90-minute raffle. Also as expected, a lot of people were salty about not winning. But, rather surprisingly, a huge part of the stock landed with renowned reseller and plug-to-the-stars Benjamin Kickz.
That didn’t sit well with a lot of sneakerheads, who bought into a rumor of their own: Allegedly, Trophy Room’s backdoor was wide open during the release and resellers such as Benjamin Kickz were given first right of refusal on the vast majority of stock. Angry comments soon followed, as did memes on Twitter and Instagram.
It’s near impossible to substantiate any of these rumors, but visuals such as the one above — or of a wall of Trophy Room x Nike Air Jordan 1s sitting in someone’s room — don’t do much to restore the trust of Marcus Jordan’s customers.
It’s no secret that some stores have a VIP allocation of stock reserved for friends of the brand. German skate shop Bonkers is open about how it allocates its stock in raffles. Loyal customers (those that spend money on non-hype releases) are put into a separate raffle, improving their chances of getting a pair of sneakers. Regardless, it’s usually single pairs that are reserved for one person, not dozens, maybe hundreds of pairs, making their way into one person’s hands, as evidenced above.
Other possibilities exist, such as Benjamin Kickz paying resale for his pairs as a gamble that the value of the Trophy Room 1s would rise over time. Another theory suggests they could be fake, but that is unlikely considering his standing in the sneaker game and the sheer logistics it would take to buy that many pairs so quickly after the release.
It doesn’t sit right that a release that is reportedly limited to just 12,000 pairs looks to have flown straight out of the back door and into the hands of resellers en masse. Reselling is part of the game, but there’s a huge difference between a kid in need of cash who got lucky and organized backdooring that supplies well-known resellers with way more than their fair share.
This problem is much bigger than the Trophy Room AJ1 release, as this happens with numerous drops throughout the year. But what makes this particular instance look even worse is Trophy Room’s obvious connection to Michael Jordan through his son Marcus Jordan and, therefore, Jordan Brand itself.
If the rumors are proven true, Benjamin Kickz is taking advantage of a system already in place. Real accountability needs to come from the likes of Trophy Room and, to a lesser extent, Nike for allowing something like this to happen. Nike isn’t the main culprit here, but for a brand that can give and take away retailer’s allocation however it sees fit, more can definitely be done to establish what rules its retailers play by.
When contacted for comment, Jordan Brand released the following statement: “We remain committed to serving our consumers with authentic Jordan products through Nike.com, and our strong distribution network and channels in both online and at brick-and-mortar retail.”
The Trophy Room x Nike Air Jordan 1 is currently reselling for over $2,500 on StockX.