How Ben Affleck Got Michael Jordan’s Approval for ‘Air’ End-shutdown

From what you’ve seen about AIR, the upcoming film about the creation of Michael Jordan’s famous Nike shoes, it may seem that the basketball legend had no hand in making this film. No actor was cast to play Jordan, something the six-time NBA champion insisted on throughout his life, and he doesn’t fill any sort of producer role. But director Ben Affleck didn’t set out to make AIR without leaving the history of the most important figure in the dark.

Jordan is, he’s a hero to me,” Affleck recently said. the End-shutdown reporters. “And I know how important and significant a figure he is, particularly in the African-American community. If you’re going to fuck up Michael Jordan, do it with respect.” So after finishing a draft of the script, which would later be completely rewritten, Affleck met the GOAT of basketball on the golf course. He mentioned that he is friends with MJ, and that the two of them sometimes play cards together, but the argon The director made it clear that Jordan would never say something like: “Oh yeah, Ben’s my guy.” Affleck doesn’t play golf either, despite meeting Jordan on the golf course that afternoon, revealing that he believes it’s a sport that “devours End-shutdown’s lives… like methamphetamine”.

This all sounds like he’s setting himself up for disaster here with MJ. But according to Affleck, the meeting became AIR around for the better.

“I have to be very clear, this is not the authorized Michael Jordan story,” Affleck explained. “It wasn’t compensated in a way that would be appropriate if this were to be. If you’re going to do a Michael Jordan story, they should back the damn truck. This was me saying, ‘Mike, I’m not going to do the movie if you don’t agree. I agree to something about it. I just won’t. I want to know what’s important to you.’”

But Jordan reportedly liked the idea and talked a lot about her mom, Deloris Jordan. Jordan’s mother “wasn’t really in the script” at the time, and by her “she wasn’t really in it,” Affleck means that she only had one line. Still, Jordan said that she wanted Viola Davis to play the role. She told Affleck, dead serious: “That’s my mom.” Affleck knew the movie was dead if he couldn’t get Davis, but he also realized from talking to MJ that the story “isn’t about Nike.” Fortunately, everything went well. “I was like, ‘Okay, Mike,’” Affleck recalled, adding that telling Davis that “Michael Jordan wants you to play his mom” probably wasn’t such a hard sell.

Still, the trailers for AIR-coming to theaters on April 5th, it may seem confusing. Matt Damon’s portrayal of Nike marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro is front and center as the lead idea man making it hands down the most iconic shoe deal in history. But just as important to history as Nike is: they did it. do shoes, after all, so is Deloris Jordan. “I want what he does in the film to be a surprise, because when I started writing and working with Matt and Jen [Lopez] He gave me some great lines too, it just started to get better,” Affleck joked. THR. “I don’t think there is a better target actor. But I do think there’s a group of End-shutdown that you can say, ‘These are the best actors in the world.’ And Viola is obviously among them.”

assistant editor

Josh Rosenberg is an assistant editor at Esquire and maintains a steady diet of one movie a day. Previous work of his can be found on Spin, CBR and on his personal blog at

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