Cop a pair: WKUPD officer shows off Jordans collection

WKU+Police+Department%E2%80%99s+public+information+officer+Melissa+Bailey+poses+for+portraits+on+Friday%2C+Nov.+11%2C+2022+with+her+collection+of+Michael+Jordan+memorabilia+at+her+mother%E2%80%99s+house+in+Alvaton%2C+Ky.

Arthur H. Trickett-Wile

WKU Police Department’s public information officer Melissa Bailey poses for portraits on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 with her collection of Michael Jordan memorabilia at her mother’s house in Alvaton, Ky.

Arthur H. Trickett-Wile, Staff Photographer

Life-size, cardboard cutout Gatorade ads of Michael Jordan frozen in mid-air stand in front of a mantle decorated with plates bearing the NBA legend’s likeness.Chicago Bulls jerseys bearing the numbers 23 and 45 – even Washington Wizards jerseys commemorating Jordan’s final brief stint in the league – are draped across the back of a couch.

Dozens upon dozens of pairs of Jordan’s signature sneakers are arranged across the floor, lovingly watched over – and sometimes worn – by Melissa Bailey, WKUPD’s public information officer and lover of all things basketball.

Bailey, a 2005 Western Kentucky University grad with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, says she’s been collecting Jordan sneakers since she was a young girl. Bailey’s daughters play basketball as well, and as a family, they share a love of the sport and the sneakers used to play it.

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WKU Police Department’s public information officer Melissa Bailey poses for portraits on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 with her collection of Michael Jordan memorabilia at her mother’s house in Alvaton, Ky. (Arthur H. Trickett-Wile)

“I started playing rec-league basketball in third or fourth grade, and immediately fell in love with the sport,” she said. “My dad was the assistant coach, so every game, he would say ‘if you score 20 points, I’ll buy you the next pair of Jordans.’”

Some of her oldest pairs, like her Air Jordan Original OG-7’s in olympic white, midnight navy and true red from 1992, are crumbling at the soles. Since those acqui- sitions, she’s collected more than 30 additional pairs.

“These are the holy grails of Jordans,” Bailey said, pointing to the pair on her feet— Jordan 1 Retro Chicago Bulls Patent, in the black and red “Bred” colorway, from 2003.

WKU Police Department’s public information officer Melissa Bailey poses for portraits on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 with her collection of Michael Jordan memorabilia at her mother’s house in Alvaton, Ky.

“It started with the shoes,” Bailey said. “And then it became an obsession. Any- thing that had Jordan on it, I wanted.”

Aside from the sneakers, Bailey collects Michael Jordan basketball cards, jerseys, magazine covers, commemorative plates, posters, cardboard cutouts and action figurines. Her collection is so extensive that she’s taken to storing much of it in her mother’s attic.