A Person on Reddit Claims They Met the Guy Who Sold Nike Sneakers to the Heaven's Gate Cult


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Complex Original

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How's this for a Throwback Thursday story? A Reddit user recently shared a story about meeting the Nike employee who sold around 40 pairs of sneakers to the leader of the infamous Heaven's Gate cult, and it's every bit as crazy as you'd expect. 

It all started in 1997 when the unnamed employee was approached by the cult leader, who we're assuming was Marshall Applewhite, and presented with a list of desired sizes in the black-and-white Nike Decade. "Oh, is this for a basketball team or something?" asked the Nike worker. 

"Something... like that," Applewhite allegedly said.

Apparently, the Nike employee was so thrilled with this big sale that he hand-delivered them to Applewhite's home. That night, the Heaven's Gate mass suicide took place, which resulted in 39 deaths. All 39 people were wearing the Decade sneakers that had been purchased just hours prior.

When the newspaper arrived the following morning, the worker was shocked to see the images of the sneakers and quickly put two and two together. Same shoes, same house, same address. 

According to the poster, the employee has struggled ever since with the idea that he could have done something to prevent or change the outcome. 

The Decade model was immediately discontinued, but there are still pairs floating around today. A deadstock size 12 is available here on eBay for $1,200. There's also a pair of unreleased SB Dunk Highs that took on a "Heaven's Gate" theme, but were ultimately scrapped due to the controversial backstory.