Every once in a wile someone comes along so extraordinary that they demand to be compensated for their worth. In the mid-80’s, that some one was an 18 year-old rookie named Michael Jordan. With the uncompromising vision of his mother, who without a shadow of a doubt knew her son’s worth, Jordan would go on to become a basketball phenom and the greatest of all time in the sport.
Directed by Ben Affleck, AIR reveals the unbelievable game-changing partnership between Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division, which revolutionized the world of sports and contemporary culture with the Air Jordan brand. Everything about this film sounds unbelievable. But, what is hands down right on the money is women may rule the world, but Black women run their households and everyone in them.
Deloris Jordan does not and has not ever suffered fools gladly. Due to her unwavering commitment to her son, she set a precedent that exists to this very day for all athletes to receive a portion of proceeds from endorsement deals. At the time, Jordan brokered a deal allowing Michael to receive 250,000, a percentage of revenue for all Air Jordan’s with his name, a red Mercedes and Nike taking responsibility to pay 5k in fines for each game he wore the signature red, black and white shoe(red was banned at the time by the NBA). Nike literally gambled building a shoe around the likeness of Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls colors being fully aware that his intention was to sign with Adidas.
AIR is exciting, not only for its story, but for its A-list cast, who each bring their special brand of magic to the project. Aside from the amazingly stealth performance from Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan, Chris Messina steals every scene he inhabits. As David Falk, Messina brings the right amount of humor couple with an annoyingly confident shark mentality every agent has lurking underneath the surface if they are as good as they claim to be. He’s simply mesmerizing to watch.
Matt Damon, Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck all bring the heat as well. However, the gentle moments between Bateman and Damon are lovely to behold and show other sides to their characters making them a little more human and less ruthless. One of the most gutsy and brilliant decisions Affleck made was not showing the face and allowing us to sparingly only hear the voice of the actor playing Jordan. It would’ve have been a very different film had his choice been the opposite.
AIR proves without a doubt that a shoe is just a shoe until someone steps into it. The first year Air Jordan went on the market they grossed 162 million. Now? Nike makes 400 million dollars a year and all because they took a chance on a rookie who became a legend.