‘Air’ flies high with the tale of how then-underdog Nike landed Michael Jordan

Written by on April 4, 2023


(CNN) – Everyone knows how the courtship of Michael Jordan by an upstart shoe company named Nike ended, but the details of how that happened run up the score for “Air,” director/co-star Ben Affleck’s affectionate and fun ode to the pursuit of greatness. Capturing the nexus between sports and business in a glow of ’80s nostalgia, it is, like its inspiration, a winner.

Affleck teams up yet again with Matt Damon, as the two play the pivotal roles of Nike CEO Phil Knight – who sits barefooted in his office when he isn’t spouting Zen-like axioms – and the company’s then-head of basketball marketing, Sonny Vaccaro, a guy with a gambler’s instincts who famously bet everything – including his own career – on a rookie coming out of North Carolina, going beyond the usual licensing deal to build an entire brand around him.

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