In 1984, Nike was struggling, particularly in its footwear division, which was far behind its competitors Adidas and Converse. To address this issue, Nike hired talent scout Sonny Vaccaro to convince promising athletes to wear their sneakers. However, it was not an easy task. In the movie “Air” by Ben Affleck, which chronicles the events that led to the historic agreement between Nike and Michael Jordan, we see how Sonny Vaccaro had a revelation while watching a basketball game that eventually led to the signing of the contract.

The movie uses proven narrative formulas, including the underdog protagonist who initially loses but ultimately triumphs. “Air” portrays the main character Sonny as a good-natured person with a taste for risk-taking who finds himself in a bad patch. In the first few minutes of the movie, we are introduced to Sonny as he interacts with young athletes he knows are out of reach for Nike. Matt Damon gives a remarkable performance as Sonny, with subtle nuances of stubbornness and self-mockery. The movie also features Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan, the mother of Michael Jordan, who manages her son’s budding career and negotiates an exceptional agreement with Nike.

The movie’s story highlights Sonny’s revolutionary idea to no longer associate athletes with a specific model of sneakers but rather to create a collection around the athlete. The movie takes an amusing yet accurate approach to portray the 1980s, a time that is often caricatured. Overall, “Air” is a feel-good movie that chronicles the history of the iconic collaboration between Nike and Michael Jordan and how it changed the world of sneakers.

As we follow the story, we see Sonny Vaccaro’s character develop from a savvy salesman to a revolutionary thinker in the world of marketing and branding. The film captures the moment when Nike made a major pivot in its approach to athlete endorsements and marketing campaigns.

Air also gives us a glimpse into the life and career of Michael Jordan before he became a household name. Jordan’s mother, Deloris, is portrayed as a strong, supportive force behind her son’s rise to greatness. Although Jordan himself is not a prominent figure in the film, his legacy and impact on the sneaker industry are felt throughout.

Overall, Air is a feel-good sports drama that pays tribute to the moment that changed the sneaker industry forever. The film captures the excitement and energy of the 1980s, while also conveying a message about the power of innovation and risk-taking in business. With its talented cast, engaging storyline, and impressive production value, Air is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of sneaker culture or the world of sports marketing.

Despite the familiarity of the narrative structure, Air manages to keep its audience engaged through its strong performances and the fascinating story it tells. In particular, the film’s exploration of the marketing strategies and negotiations behind Michael Jordan’s endorsement deal with Nike is a captivating look into the business side of sports.

Air also succeeds in capturing the essence of the 1980s, from the fashion to the music, creating a nostalgic and immersive experience for viewers. The film’s use of archival footage and historical events adds to its authenticity, and its soundtrack perfectly complements the era it depicts.

Overall, Air is an enjoyable and inspiring sports drama that highlights the importance of taking risks and pursuing one’s dreams. With its excellent cast, impressive production values, and engaging story, it is a film that will leave viewers feeling motivated and uplifted.

Release date: 5 April 2023 (UK)

Director: Ben Affleck

Distributed by: Amazon Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures

Budget: $70–90 million

Cinematography: Robert Richardson

Production companies: Amazon Studios; Skydance Sports; Artists Equity; Mandalay Pictures