Beloved teacher SP Gina’s sneaker collection goes up for auction


A collection of more than 200 sneakers that belonged to retired San Jose teacher Virginia Wright is up for auction. As some of you might recall, the beloved instructor gained a huge online following for being a sneakerhead known as SP Gina.

After Wright died last June at age 73, Shoe Palace decided to partner with Charitybuzz on the auction dedicated to her memory and funding a scholarship at San Jose State University in her honor. Wright graduated from San Jose State in 1972 and taught in the Franklin McKinley School District for more than 35 years.

“Gina clearly left an indelible mark on her students and on the global sneaker community, and we’re honored to help continue her legacy through this Shoe Palace collaboration,” Charitybuzz CEO Ben Erwin said in a statement. “We look forward to auctioning the collection to raise important funds for Gina’s scholarship at San Jose State.”

Nearly all the shoes up for bidding are Nike Air Jordans, including a pair of the SP Gina Air Jordans that Shoe Palace and Jordan Brand collaborated on in her honor back in 2019. The auction, which started Tuesday, runs through April 16 at

Wright’s love affair with Jordans started at the Shoe Palace at Oakridge Mall in South San Jose, where she would go with her walking group. She scoffed at the small selection of women’s athletic shoes and asked to shop on the men’s side. Soon her taste in sneakers caught the eye of both Shoe Palace management and her students at San Jose’s Santee Elementary, where she had continued to teach on a fill-in basis after retirement. She showed off her kicks on Instagram, where she had more than 11,000 followers.

“When I got into the shoe culture, kids started noticing me,” Wright said at a ceremony at Santee in 2019 for her shoe release. “They’d say ‘Miss Wright, which Jordans are those?’ I realized very quickly that I had a connection with them. My foot was in the door.”

NIGHT FOR THE NINERS: The sting of this year’s Super Bowl loss may not have quite faded for 49ers fans, but maybe it’ll help to know that a quartet of Niners quarterbacks including Steve Young and Brock Purdy will gather next month for the Dwight Clark Legacy Series, which is coming back to the majestic California Theatre in downtown San Jose on May 16.

Young and Purdy will be joined for a conversation with Jeff Garcia and Alex Smith at the 7p.m. event, which honors the memory of Clark, the legendary wide receiver who connected with Joe Montana on “The Catch” in 1981 who died from ALS in 2018. It also raises money for the Golden Heart Fund, which provides help for former 49ers facing difficult challenges in their lives.

At the event, fans will get to hear General Manager John Lynch’s “state of the team” update, and one player will be presented with the Dwight Clark Award for exemplifying No. 87’s spirit of teamwork and camaraderie.

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