Movie Review: ‘Air’ the story of the shoe

The movie of the year about the partnership of the century


Top to bottom, the acting in “Air” is superb.


Bar none, “Air” is the best movie that I have seen in theaters so far this year, I walked out of the theater thoroughly impressed. 

This biopic-style movie is done really well, there is a sense of dramatic irony used in this movie, because it is a historical event that has led to one of the biggest cultural movements in modern history, the Air Jordan shoes. 

Top to bottom, the acting in “Air” is superb, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chriss Messina, Chris Tucker and Viola Davis are the main credited actors in the movie. 

“Air” begins with an executive meeting at Nike headquarters, where the basketball division is given $250 thousand to use for sponsorships to players in the 1984 NBA draft. 

North Carolina shooting guard Michael Jordan, the third draft selection, was seemingly out of Nike’s league in terms of sponsorship. Jordan preferred Adidas and did not have any interest in signing with Nike anyway.

Damon’s character, Sonny Vaccaro, is Nike’s basketball scout and is all-in on Nike signing Jordan as a Nike-sponsored athlete. Vaccaro got the idea while watching a commercial about tennis rackets that were personalized for Arthur Ashe.

Vaccaro believes that Nike should take a similar approach with Jordan, to make a line of shoes based around him. 

Vaccaro calls Jordan’s agent, who essentially laughs at him and tells him there is no shot that Jordan will sign with Nike. 

Vaccaro ends up going to North Carolina to meet Jordan’s parents and ends up talking with his mother, giving her a personable sales pitch highlighting why other companies would fall short while making their sponsorship pitches to Jordan. 

My favorite part of the movie is the development of the legendary Air Jordan shoe. Nike shoe designer Peter Moore steals the show in my opinion; although Moore doesn’t get much screen time in the movie, he is pretty funny and ends up pitching the name “Air Jordan.”

Affleck plays Nike CEO Phil Knight and does a great job. The character has pretty great development throughout the movie, delivering some really awkwardly funny jogging scenes (and shows off his sweet car). 

The Nike team dedicated to signing Jordan delivers an amazing pitch to Jordan and his parents (interestingly, Jordan’s face is never shown in the movie). 

Knight, who started out pretty skeptical about the idea of signing Jordan, eventually gives into Jordan’s mother’s demand that Michael will receive a piece of revenue for each shoe. 

That deal has gone down in history as one of the single biggest in the apparel industry, probably ever.

Overall, this movie might not crest my top 10 movies, but I plan on watching it again. In a world full of high-octane blockbuster movies, “Air” slows the pace down to tell the amazing story of the Nike and Jordan partnership that deserves to be told.