Directed by Ben Affleck and starring Matt Damon, the new movie “Air” tells the story of the genesis and rise of the Nike trainer brand, Air Jordan.
The film, set to be released in the UK on April 7, follows the story of the game-changing partnership between rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division with a star-studded cast.
Air Jordans were created for NBA Hall of Famer Jordan during his time with the Chicago Bulls in 1984 and released to the public on April 1, 1985.
The movie sees Damon playing sports executive Sonny Vaccaro as he hears about the downward trend in sales and growth in Nike’s basketball division.
Nike founder Phil Knight, played by Affleck, tells Vaccaro to come up with a bid for a new shoe, which prompts him to come up with an idea for a brand around the next player.
At the time the prospect of signing Jordan seemed remote, but once solidified, it has dramatically changed the coach and basketball culture.
Here, MailOnline looks at the real people the upcoming movie is based on.
Ben Affleck as Phil Knight in the Air – He attended the movie’s premiere on Monday
Ben Affleck stars alongside Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, and Viola Davis
(L-R) Deloris Jordan and Michael Jordan were cast in the 1988 movie “Superstars And Their Moms.” Jordan himself did not appear in Air.
Air, directed by Ben Affleck, is set for release in the UK on April 7
Interestingly enough, Jordan himself isn’t seen in the new movie – but Viola Davis plays his mother.
Oscar-winner Affleck explained, “I thought: The moment I turn the camera on someone and tell the audience to believe that person is Michael Jordan, the whole movie just falls apart.
I want Michael Jordan to have the influence in this story that he had in the world. In a way, he is a presence both felt and discussed. Everyone around him is there, but you never see his face.
Phil Knight, who founded Nike, was played by Ben Affleck
September 1986. Phil Knight at his Nike office in Beaverton, Oregon
Phil Knight co-founded and built Nike and created the logo
Ben Affleck in the official trailer — he also directed the movie
Phil Knight co-founded and built Nike and, like those of the best in the business, has thrown up a lot of ideas along the way.
When he decided in 1972 that getting involved with Adidas was a business proposition—the German company’s trainers were expensive and hard to come by in the United States—he tried to come up with a permanent name and logo.
It took Knight a long time to get away from his idea of ’Dimension Six’ and it was the co-founder of the company who created ‘Nike’ – the winged goddess of victory from Greek mythology.
Some tried to alienate Knight from the logo he had come up with – or rather, that a local art student he had met had come up with it, after asking her to work on designs, for a fee of $35 (£). 28).
“It looks like a Puma strip upside down,” said co-founder Bob Woodell. But Knight insisted. I do not like him. He said what would become known around the planet as the Nike Swoosh, but I think it would grow on me.
And when they put it all together, Knight decided they needed athlete endorsements—very fast—especially for the new basketball and tennis shoes they were trying to sell.
Sonny Vaccaro, who embarks on a quest to sign Michael Jordan, is played by Matt Damon
Sonny Vaccaro with Michael Jordan – Sonny has embarked on a mission to sign the Chicago Bulls guard
Sonny Vaccaro at the ‘Air’ premiere, Los Angeles, Calif., March 27, 2023
Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro in Air – The film shows Vaccaro’s efforts to secure Jordan
Former Nike CEO Sonny Vaccaro, played by Matt Damon, embarked on a relentless quest to sign Chicago Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan to the then fledgling running shoe company in 1984.
The film shows Vaccaro’s efforts to channel Jordan through his family, friends, former coaches, and advisors at a time when Nike was the number three selling shoe company.
Vaccaro worked to convince co-founder Nike Knight that he was worth gambling it all on while the company was going through a precarious period during the 1980s.
Rob Strasser – then Director of Marketing – was played by Jason Bateman
Former Nike Marketing Director Rob Strasser
Matthew Maher as Peter Moore, Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro and Jason Bateman as Rob Strasser
Former Nike Marketing Director Rob Strasser has been described as having a keen understanding of brand identity.
Nike invited Jordan and his parents to Oregon to hear Strasser’s pitch, where he talked about the company’s winning ad campaigns and about building Jordan’s image.
according to Portland MonthlyThe late Strasser once told his colleagues, “If Jordan does what we think he’s capable of, and if we can pull it off, that could be big.”
Jordan even said USA Today: “I absolutely fell in love with (Strasser) when he premiered the Jordan thing, the Air Jordan concept. “
Peter Moore, the company’s first creative director, was played by Matthew Maher
Nike Creative Director Peter Moore, left, played by Matthew Maher (right)
Peter Moore was central to the creation of the Air Jordan line in the 1980s.
He became the company’s first creative director in 1983 and played an important role in the brand’s image.
When Nike signed with Jordan, Moore designed the first Air Jordans, as well as the entire line’s identity, according to complicated.
He died on April 29, at the age of 78.
Howard White, Vice President, played by Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker (R) as Howard White (L) – Jordan Brand Vice President – in the air
Howard White is Jordan Brand Vice President and has been with the company for 40 years.
He founded Believe to Achieve, a traveling seminar aimed at encouraging young people to believe in themselves and he encouraged adults to guide them.
Deloris Jordan – Michael’s mother – was played by Viola Davis
Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan in Air – Deloris is said to be crucial in the negotiations for her son
Michael Jordan and Deloris Jordan in the photo “The Stars and Their Mothers”
Michael’s mother, Deloris Jordan, was said to have had a vital role in the beginning of his brand empire.
Affleck said she led by example to instill values “Knowing your worth, self-respect and taking risks” in her son.
according to Hey hoDeloris played a huge role in negotiating the terms that have made her son wealthy ever since.
George Raveling, Nike’s international basketball director, is played by Marlon Wayans
Former basketball coach George Raveling (left) plays Marlon Wayans (right)
George Raveling, 85, former basketball coach As the Director of International Basketball for Nike.
according to reportsIt was Raveling who pointed Jordan in the direction of Nike employees Rob Strasser and Peter Moore.
David Falk, Jordan’s former agent, is played by Chris Messina
Jordan’s agent David Falk in 1999 (left) – played by actor Chris Messina (right)
Jordan’s former agent, David Falk, talked about how Jordan kept Booker-face during a Nike show to keep the company on edge.
“Jordan isn’t smiling, he looks like he’s about to cry, he looks like he’s about to scream, he’s angry,” he said. from the inside.
I’m dying because I know he hates this, and he’s going to kick me out when this is over.
After the court, Nike took Jordan out to dinner, but Falk said Jordan barely said a word the whole time.
After dinner was over, Falk asked Jordan for his opinion.
He looked at me and said, amazing. I don’t want to go anywhere else.