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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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REVIEW: ‘Air’ chronicles Nike’s fight to sign Michael Jordan and subsequent rise to the top

The inspirational film shares a message of hope and perseverance

Air,” directed by Ben Affleck and written by Alex Convery, tells the true story of how one prediction that Michael Jordan would be the greatest basketball player of all time led Nike to a take over the basketball sneaker market.

The film takes us back to 1984, when Micheal Jordan was about to enter the NBA and companies were hungry to sign him to any deal he would agree to. 

The opening scene depicts a culture saturated by Adidas tracksuits and ‘80s music, and truly brings the viewer into the timeframe where Nike was not the powerhouse it is today. Nike is characterized as a struggling company with a basketball division on the verge of collapse. A company in need of some substantial success. 

The movie follows Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), the ambitious head of the basketball division at Nike, and his attempts to sign Micheal Jordan. At this point, Jordan was in his junior year at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and was making history with a buzzer beater that won the national championship against Georgetown University. 

The plot centers around the desperate chase for Micheal Jordan, as Vaccaro battles Jordan’s agent, rival shoe companies and Nike CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) for the right to sign the future superstar. 

The cinematography in the scenes of the empty Nike office and the hunger on Vaccaro’s face adds powerful tension to the film. The soundtrack for the movie is nothing short of spectacular,  tastefully referencing ‘80s music and expertly highlighting the emotional moments. The soundtrack’s genius is evident when the RUN-D.M.C. song “My Adidas” immerses the audience into the ‘80s era, and has that “old-school” cool energy. 

The latter part of the movie works incredibly well with elements of risk. The climax is heartfelt, and gives audiences a glimpse into the realities of the sneaker business. The scenes are shot with dim, moody lighting, which captures the gravity of the business decisions. The climactic moments are appropriately captivating, and the movie shows how the events depicted affect the modern day. 

The real appeal of “Air” is that we all know how it ends. We all know the iconic jumpman logo, how Jordan dominated the NBA, how Air Jordans became a cultural icon and how every kid in the ‘80s to today wanted to “be like Mike.”               

Although most movies are centered around the suspense of the ending, “Air” creates dramatic tension and uncertainty with compelling details of Jordan’s story and company drama despite the unsurprising ending.

“Air’s” powerful message of perseverance and hope makes it an inspirational movie, both for people who love Jordan as a basketball player and know him as a cultural icon. It centers the energy that shoe designers and workers at Nike had in their daily lives, showing the great lengths people will go to to achieve their dreams. 

“Air” was released in theaters on April 4th.

This article was edited by Bailey Hobbs, Kylie Bill and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis.  

yminmiller@theeagleonline.com 


Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 



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