Michael Jordan Gave Ben Affleck 2 Demands To Secure His Blessing On 'Air' Movie

Zinger Key Points
  • A new film will feature the story of how Michael Jordan was signed by Nike before beginning his NBA career.
  • To get Jordan's blessing, director Ben Affleck had to do two things for the film.

One of the most anticipated movies for the month of April is from director and actor Ben Affleck. The movie will tell the origin story of a piece of Michael Jordan’s legacy. To get Jordan’s blessing for the movie, Affleck had to do two things.

What Happened: The new movie from Affleck starring himself and frequent collaborator Matt Damon will center on the origin story of Nike Inc NKE signing Jordan to a shoe endorsement deal before he began his NBA career.

Titled “Air,” the movie stars Damon as Sonny Vaccaro and Affleck as Nike co-founder Phil Knight. The movie shows how Vaccaro convinced Jordan, played by actor Damian Young, to sign a deal with Nike and how the Air Jordan shoe line was created.

Also featured in the movie is actress Viola Davis, who portrays Jordan’s mother in the movie. The inclusion of Davis was a key item demanded by Jordan.

While introducing the movie at its premiere at South by Southwest, Affleck told the audience he wouldn’t have made the movie without getting the blessing of Jordan, Variety reported

“I had a chance to sit down with Michael Jordan, because I wasn’t going to make this movie without asking him, ‘what matters to you?’” Affleck said.

Affleck said Jordan wanted to see Howard White, the vice president of the Jordan brand, included in the movie.

The other demand from Jordan was casting Davis as his mother.

“None of this would have happened without my mother,” Jordan said of his Nike deal.

When Affleck asked the NBA legend who he would like to portray his mom, there was only one answer.

“Well, it has to be Viola Davis,” Jordan told Affleck.

Affleck said Jordan is one of the most intimidating people he’s ever met in life. Affleck also said that the request to have Davis in the movie would be similar to asking someone “Can I play basketball on your court?” and the person saying “yeah, if you get Michael Jordan.”

Affleck ultimately was able to cast Davis and welcomed her on stage after his speech to highlight the Oscar-winning actress before the world premiere of “Air.”

Related Link: Quantity Over Quality: Ben Affleck Questions Assembly Line Style Of Streaming Giant Netflix

Why It’s Important: Affleck has won several awards for his work behind the camera and for writing screenplays with movies like “Good Will Hunting” and “Argo.”

“Air” could become the latest Affleck movie to see strong praise from critics and audiences. The movie has an 8.9 rating on IMDb from the limited number of people who have watched it. The film also has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from five critic reviews to date.

Amazon Studios, a unit of Amazon.com Inc AMZN, will release “Air” in theaters. This marks the first movie released by Amazon Studios that will not also premiere on Amazon Prime Video at the same time.

Amazon has bet big on the film's success, airing the trailer during Super Bowl LVII and showing the trailer during many larger sporting events. 

Strong reviews by critics and award nominations could help boost Amazon Studios' presence in the film space.

“Air” hits theaters on April 5, 2023.

Read Next: Michael Jordan's Massive Donation To Make-A-Wish Is A Slam Dunk 

Photo: simplistic.designs on flickr

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