It is the year 1986. The 16-year-old devoted Boston Celtics fan Matt Damon.
Yet this Chicago Bulls player is making headlines. Even Larry Bird, a Celtics legend, agrees that Michael Jordan is the real deal. In addition, he is wearing stylish red and white shoes.
Damon can’t, however, afford them.
Damon chuckles, “I couldn’t get Air Jordans; they were out of my financial range. “But, I was a tremendous fan of MJ. It was okay to cheer for Bird, who was the most obnoxious person, after Jordan scored 63 points against us in a game and declared, “That wasn’t Michael Jordan, it was God masquerading as Michael Jordan.””
In “Air,” Damon, 52, pays his own homage to Jordan in the present (in theatres now; streaming soon on Amazon). The North Carolina prodigy was wooed by Nike in an unlikely manoeuvre in 1984, beating off market leaders Converse and Adidas. Everything after the coup was altered, including endorsement deals and footwear trends.
Damon portrays Sonny Vaccaro, a chubby Nike basketball executive whose hunger for talent hasn’t yet resulted in any major player endorsements for the business. Until he decides that this Jordan youngster deserves to receive the entire annual endorsement budget from the corporation, despite Nike founder Phil Knight’s (Ben Affleck) serious reservations.
The most recent project they worked on together, “Air,” was directed by Affleck. Their previous work together included 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” for which they shared the best screenplay Oscar.
With his hair unkempt and a smile on his face, Damon is gregarious in discussion. He talks about the subtle force of Viola Davis’ portrayal of Jordan’s mother, the movie’s silly Easter eggs, and the amazing moment when he and Affleck first met His Airness.
Before they could begin filming “Air,” Michael Jordan placed demands on Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
Affleck and Damon were enthralled with Alex Convery’s “Air” storyline, but they required Jordan’s approval. Taking that meeting was Affleck. Jordan was encouraging, but adjustments were required. Jordan had one more important condition in addition to the necessity to showcase significant Black figures in his life.
“Michael talked about how important George Raveling (Marlon Wayans plays Jordan’s mentor) and Howard White (Chris Tucker is Nike’s marketing executive), but most of all he talked about his mother,” says Damon, pointing out that while Jordan was fixated on receiving a red Mercedes as a signing bonus, Deloris was the one who pushed for a ground-breaking shoe deal.
She has a subtle power that Damon compares to Marlon Brando’s. According to him, the African American women of her generation “spoke about how they lived through their children, because they didn’t have an opportunity to realise their own goals.” All of that is contained in this lovely performance.
Since they were teenagers, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have “had notes.”
For twenty years, Damon and Luciana Barroso were wed, and they have four daughters together. Affleck, 50, recently got back together with Jennifer Lopez after getting divorced from Jennifer Garner.
Even though they took different personal paths, they remain friends. Damon admires his friend’s direction, which helped “Argo” win the 2013 Academy Award for best film.
He claims that they had collaborated ever since they were in high school theatre. “People are saying things like, “This is the first time Ben has directed you.” It turns out that he has been directing me since he was 14 years old. He carried notes.”
Ben Affleck answers questions about pursuing Michael Jordan in his film “Air.”