Michael Jordan with his signature Nike shoe. Photo Nike

Michael Jordan with his signature Nike shoe. Photo: Nike

Ben Affleck to star in new Michael Jordan documentary “AIR”

Ben Affleck to portray Nike founder Phil Knight in new film “Air”, a drama tracing the origins Michael Jordan’s partnership with the company.

Michael Jordan with his signature Nike shoe. Photo Nike

Michael Jordan with his signature Nike shoe. Photo: Nike

Ben Affleck will portray Nike co-founder Phil Knight in a new film called “Air”, a sports drama that traces the origins of Michael Jordan’s highly successful partnership with the shoe company.

The film centers on the story of Sonny Vaccaro, portrayed by Matt Damon, the man who worked to sign Jordan to a deal to sport the company’s shoes. The deal was eventually signed in 1984 while Jordan was a rookie with the Chicago Bulls.

The show will be based on the true story of how Vaccaro, a salesman for Nike in the 1980s, worked tirelessly to convince MJ to sign with the Swoosh. It’s well documented that MJ, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, almost went with a different brand, but this dramatisation will hopefully set the story straight. Affleck will take on writing, directing, starring, and production duties.

“Air” is being made possible by a deal between Amazon Studios and Skydance Sports, who are finalising their agreement. Mandalay Pictures will also be involved with production. Skydance Sports president Jon Weinbach and Mandalay Pictures chairman Peter Guber previously were involved with production of The Last Dance, sports documentary miniseries depicting Jordan’s career.

The release date of the film has been set for 15 April.

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As reported by SportsKeeda.com, in this deep-dive into the Nike-Jordan partnership, MJ signed a deal with Nike during his NBA rookie season in 1984. At the time, Adidas and Converse were on top of the sneaker chain. Prior to Jordan’s partnership with Nike, it seemed like he was going to sign with Adidas. Nike, however, offered the rookie a more lucrative offer, worth $500,000 per year, that MJ couldn’t turn down.

Nike Air Jordan made its debut in late 1984 when MJ wore his signature shoes for the first time. Jordan wearing the pair in-game was controversial. The league had a rule that allowed players to only wear white sneakers regardless of brand.

The Air Jordans had a red, black and white colorway representing the Chicago Bulls’ colors. Because of that, every time Jordan wore those shoes, he was fined $5,000. It didn’t matter though as Nike was willing to shoulder all the expenses just so MJ could promote his shoes.

MJ was able to stir up enough hype before the Air Jordans officially launched in retail stores. Nike’s Air Jordans was released in 1985 and exceeded predictions in sales. In the first year alone, Air Jordans sold for $126 million. These shoes are what put Nike on the map.

Jordan went on to become arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. His shoeline expanded and has gone on to arguably become the greatest sneaker line of all time. According to Centuro Global, as of 2020, MJ has made $1.3 billion from his Nike deal.

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Michael Jordan game worn Air Jordans Affleck.jpg. copy
MJ’s game worn Air Jordans. Photo: Nike.