It’s no secret that Michael Jordan transformed Nike once he became one of the greatest to join forces with the sneaker giant in 1984. However, the two making history would’ve never occurred if not for the legendary basketball star’s mother.
As previously reported by AfroTech, Jordan nearly turned down signing his deal with Nike, but his mom, Deloris Jordan, stepped in. The intervention led to Jordan inking a five-year, $2.5 million deal. What’s more, the first Air Jordan shoe was released to the public in 1985, which went on to rake in $126 million in revenue in that year alone.
Now, the groundbreaking deal has been taken to the big screen. Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, “Air” follows the true story of how Sonny Vaccaro, a former Nike executive (played by Matt Damon), fought to sign Jordan during his rookie year. According to Variety, the biographical sports drama film focuses on how Jordan’s mom negotiated the “game-changing” endorsement deal.
The outlet also reports that Jordan had a list of requests for “Air” before Affleck officially received his blessing.
“I had a chance to sit down with Michael Jordan, because I just wasn’t going to make this movie without asking him, ‘What matters to you?’” Affleck shared during the SXSW world premiere of “Air,” according to the outlet. “Interestingly, and tellingly, he had a few things that mattered. One of them was that Howard White [played by Chris Tucker] needed to be in the movie.”
“I got the script and then had the chance again to talk to Michael. Michael Jordan, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the most intimidating, impressive men you’ll ever see in your life,” Affleck continued. “He told me about his father. And then he talked about his mother. It was the first time I saw this look cross his face. It was a look of reverence, of awe, of love, and gratitude, and innocence. He said, ‘None of this would have ever happened without my mother.’ I said, ‘Who would you like to play your mom?’ He said, ‘Well, it has to be Viola Davis.’”
During the premiere, Affleck went on to give Davis her flowers as “the best actor in the world.”
“Viola Davis is the best actor I’ve ever seen,” he said. “This is a hard business. It’s hard to know if you’re successful. It’s hard to know if you’ve accomplished something. But honest to God, I always felt that if I was a director one day, and I had Viola Davis in a movie, that would really be something. That would mean the world to me. And it does.”