Did you know that Michael Jordan makes $400 million a year and passive income because of the percentage he gets from the sale of Air Jordans? To understand how this happened, we have to go back to the 1980s and the iconic sneaker brand Nike, in Ben Affleck’s latest movie. air. Written by Alex Convery, the film stars Affleck, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, Jason Bateman, Julius Tenon.
Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) loves to gamble – which indicates that he likes to take risks. He works for Nike CEO Phil Knight (Affleck) in the company’s basketball department. He seeks out up and coming b-ball plays and offers them shoe endorsement deals, and is currently eyeing 18-year-old Michael Jordan. Sony believes Jordan deserves the full price he’s being offered ($250,000), and so does Vaccaro’s advisor Howard White (Tucker), but Knight, and Vice President of Marketing Robert Strasser (Bateman), believe it is their responsibility to do so. He tries to get a meeting with Jordan by speaking with his agent David Falk (Messina), but the athlete is more interested in signing with Adidas.
With no plans to give up, Vaccaro bypasses the chain of command and flies to North Carolina to talk to Jordan’s parents Delores (Davis) and James (Tennon). With two shoe endorsement meetings with Adidas and Converse in place, Sonny asks his mother to reconsider talking to Nike, and warns her about what to expect when speaking to these companies. With Nike CEO Falk, and Strasser breathing down his neck to close the deal or lose his job, Vaccaro deploys clever maneuvers to secure the customer, and stay in business.
In his fifth feature film, Affleck’s talents exceed expectations. He grew up as an actor and director but is best at doing both. Not sure how he does that. The organization and patience required to balance all of these elements must be exhausting, but I couldn’t tell because he never sweats it. At Air, Affleck makes great use of aerial footage that shows the size of some of these companies’ campuses. Central to his visual style are the desaturated scenes that use a mixture of green and blue that match the tone of his earlier work, but here he changes it by increasing the brightness and color which made the viewing experience hopeful.
air It has the best cast that includes some of the greatest actors in Hollywood. Each of them delivers award-worthy performances, and it’s hard to choose which is a favorite, and that’s a rarity for good acting across the board. I watched a couple of Affleck’s performances at SXSW, and you can just tell when he’s excited about a project, and when he’s calling. Convery script has all the elements to summon the energy needed to pull this off.
Delores Jordan is responsible for the career her son enjoys today. Despite Nike’s resistance, they were able to negotiate a deal in which Michael would receive a worldwide percentage of every Air Jordan shoe sold. Her attitude was that she knew her son’s worth, and that “a shoe is just a shoe…until my son wears it”. The goal was to create shoes that reflected his personality and give fans something that would make them feel closer to the Chicago Bulls player.
Vision airAnd how the world’s most iconic sneaker came about makes me think about the evolution of the shoe almost 40 years later. People steal, kill and die for a husband. Crazy to think of starting this path innocently and turning customers into rabid consumers. Of course, this is not Jordan’s problem, but this story sets the record straight. His career was dominated by a lot of white men, and I’m glad to see some kind of defense on display for athletes like Mike and others like him because this deal with Nike has changed the sneaker and basketball industry in huge ways.
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