This is a LeBron James Lakers jersey from last season that is now owned by Dwyane Wade after they swapped jerseys. It was produced by Nike and made of a fabric blend that includes polyester and recycled plastic water bottles. It serves to mediate the relationship between these basketball players.
These are the shoes worn by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Summer Olympics that sold for $190,373 at auction in 2017. They are Converse shoes made out of canvas, rubber, and synthetic dye. The shoes are a mediator between Jordan and the current owner, a big fan of Jordan.
My two objects, an old LeBron James jersey and old Michael Jordan shoes, were both worn by basketball players at one point but serve no athletic use anymore. My collection makes the case that sometimes, sportswear holds value when it no longer serves a function and in rare cases, it even gains more value over time. Both of these objects serve to mediate between the athlete who once owned the object and the current owner. The LeBron James jersey mediates the relationship between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who are actually very close friends. The Converse shoes mediate in a different way, as the current owner of the shoes does not know Michael Jordan but was rather a huge fan. Both the jersey and the shoes are also semiophores. The jersey is a semiophore for Dwyane Wade because it represents the great friendship he has with LeBron James, a fellow professional basketball player. Similarly, but also differently, the Converse shoes are a semiophore for their current owner because they give the owner a sense of connection between him and Michael Jordan, a basketball legend. Together, these objects show how sportswear can link an athlete with their audience.