Nike SB’s eBay Dunk is a shoe of legend. In 2003, the company created a sneaker featuring the same colors as eBay’s logo for a charity auction. Proceeds from the sale paid for skate parks in Portland, Oregon, and benefited the Tim Brauch Foundation, named after the 25-year-old skater who died of cardiac arrest on Mother’s Day in 1999.
For nearly 20 years, the auction’s winner has owned the only official pair of eBay Dunks. The other samples were cut into four pieces.
In celebration of the two-decade anniversary of Nike SB, the company partnered with eBay and the Sandy Bodecker Foundation to auction 10 pairs of the eBay Dunk with a new twist. Each pair will come with a skateable shoe box and features translucent material to represent cuts made on the original design from the 2003 auction. eBay will donate all proceeds to the Bodecker Foundation in honor of Sandy Bodecker, the late vice president of special projects for Nike who died in 2018 at 66.
There is no Nike SB without Bodecker. He started with the company as a sneaker tester in the ’80s. After successfully boosting the profile of its soccer division overseas, Nike tapped him to lead its reentry into skateboarding.
Hunter Muraira, senior manager of sneakers at eBay, worked at Nike during the shoe’s release. Muraira said Bodecker’s approach was built on supporting and working with skateboard culture. Nike’s previous attempts to break into the niche market had failed, but Bodecker had a plan. He wouldn’t enter the skateboarding world by taking something away. He wanted to give back.
Bodecker did that in a big way with the eBay Dunk.
“We wanted to ensure that it was on the best resale marketplace out there. To be where the community is, so we put it on eBay,” Muraira said. “Let’s ensure the community builds up the hype with us. And let’s do some good by having the resources of this auction promote and build skateboarding.”
Muraira attended the 2003 auction and recalled that “The shoes were at $5,000 for maybe a day, a day and a half, then the next day it went up to $9,000.” But Bodecker wanted more.
“I just remember hearing, like, again, we need this,” Muraira said. “We need to make an impact. We need to make sure we’re giving back something substantial to the community.”
The shoe sold for $30,000. For years, sneakerheads didn’t know the identity of the auction winner.
It was Bodecker.
“That was just phenomenal, but that showed Sandy’s commitment,” Muraira said. “This wasn’t something that Sandy had Nike [purchase]. He cut that check out of his own pocket. It [represented] what he would do with us and the SB team. He would go and talk to the skate shops and buy boards for kids in the area that didn’t have an opportunity to purchase one. He just wanted to help grow the sport.”
Bodecker’s dedication had a big impact on professional skateboarder Eric Koston, who won skateboarder of the year in 1996 from the skateboard magazine Thrasher. He’s a five-time medalist (including two golds) in the X Games. USA Skateboarding named him team captain in November.
In 2001, when he hadn’t yet skated for Nike, he was inspired by the company’s moves in the market. “If you look at all the designs I did in the past before I signed, Nike influenced about 90% of them,” Koston said. “[Signing with] with Nike really was, like, not that hard of a decision.”
Koston’s move was still a culture shock. Skateboarders in that era knew of the company’s previous attempts to enter the market. “Back in the day, when SB started, everyone had their hesitation,” Koston said. “It was like [Nike] wasn’t really going to be in on this. They’re just going to dump it.”
Bodecker wouldn’t repeat Nike’s previous mistakes. Koston said the company treated skateboard ambassadors like other high-profile athletes, including paying for stays at fancy hotels, trips in private jets, and all the benefits of being signed to the Swoosh.
“They made you feel good. That kind of treatment makes you feel great. Who’s not going to like that?” he said.
Recalling the 2003 eBay Dunk charity auction, Koston said, “Nike being able to utilize that popularity to raise money for a good cause was a really awesome move on their part. It was like, OK, we see what’s happening here.”
Koston said Bodecker’s patience and meticulousness were the foundation of Nike SB. “He had a vision, and his vision was so long-term,” he said. “That shows his legacy and [drives] what’s going on with SB. It’s the mark he left.”
Nike SB still has a sustained skateboarding presence. Besides its 2022 charity auction, eBay is hosting a “Skate ’Em Out the Store” event in Portland on Friday and Saturday. The Skate ’Em Out store will stock some of the most popular Nike SB Dunks over the last 20 years. The store will sell a combination of OG pairs, rare one-of-ones, and new releases for only $65, the original manufacturer suggested retail price from two decades ago.
There’s one condition, though. To receive the price, buyers must skate the shoes out of the store. “I think it’s an amazing way to celebrate the 20 years of Nike SB and the 20 years of this great iconic silhouette,” Muraira said. “These are products to be made and skated.”
Another new feature on the rerelease is the photos on the insoles. The left insole features a picture of Bodecker holding Nike designer James Arizumi’s child, while the right insole includes a photo taken at his SB retirement party, where he wore the shoes for the first time. It’s a touching tribute to a man many consider a legend in sneaker culture.
“A lot of the way he thought changed my own views,” Koston said. “It changed my future in skateboarding, and how I want to just keep creating, [I want] to build and support skateboarding and grow skateboarding. And a lot of that came from Sandy.” Koston said much of the advice he received from Bodecker he didn’t understand at the time and that it resonated years later.
“He left a mark on a lot of people. And, it’s not like, it was some, you know, calculated thing. I mean, maybe it was, but it’s, like, everybody who knew him knows how much he cared. It [really] was just about how much he really cared about what he was dealing with.”
Muraira echoed those sentiments.
“Sandy, he looked at everybody, no matter how long he worked with you, like family. I know people throw that term around, but that’s how he really treated people. It was real. And I felt that,” he said. When Bodecker was diagnosed with cancer, he asked Muraira to look after a family member while he received treatment.
“That just blew me away,” he said. “I was pretty young at the time. I couldn’t have been more than 30. But I realized now that he asked because I’m part of his family. He knew I was someone that could be trusted. And that meant so much to me.”