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The Air Jordan & Nike Movie, Air

Michael Jordan has been the most fascinating personality in sports for decades. He is widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time. In 2023, the film Air chronicled the early days of MJ’s legacy and his budding relationship with Nike.


Nike has always been aligned with the biggest stars in the world. From basketball icon Michael Jordan to the Marty McFly character in the classic Back to the Future franchise—Nike has never been at a loss for star power. Its biggest star may just be its co-founder, Phil Knight. Knight hustled his ass off to get his Nike products to the world. Believe it or not he once sold pairs of sneakers out of the trunk of his car.


Phil Knight was born on February 28th, 1938, in Portland, Oregon. Knight had a love for running since his youth. He attended the University of Oregon and while there he was a middle-distance runner. Knight wanted to make better sneakers than the ones that were available to athletes at that time. After he graduated from college, he sought the advice of his track and field coach at Oregon, Bill Bowerman.

phil knight

Humble Beginnings

Knight knew that Bowerman would have valuable advice when it came to building a sneaker that perfectly met the needs of a runner. Knight and Bowerman worked so well together that they decided to become partners. They sealed their partnership with a handshake. The trademarked swoosh was designed by a college student and the first Nike shoes were made inside a waffle iron. Despite the lofty status it holds in our culture today, Nike began quite humbly.

phil knight & bill bowerman


Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born on February 17, 1963. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in North Carolina. MJ attended Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. The story has been told a billion times, but MJ was cut from his varsity basketball team. That story has been used as a form of inspiration ever since MJ debuted in the NBA. Mike experienced a growth spurt the summer before his junior year of high school. Jordan has expressed in the past that he felt like he willed himself to grow. His height and talent grew, and he would never have to worry again about being cut from a team.

phil knight & bill bowerman

Movie Worthy

The story behind the Nike and MJ partnership is a legendary one. The relationship helped Nike and Jordan become icons. Separately, they were both destined for greatness. But together, they accomplished something in pop culture that had not been done before, and likely will never be duplicated. Nike wasn’t known for its basketball shoes, until Jordan was brought onboard.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck is an A -Lister. He has made his mark as an actor, screenwriter, and director in Hollywood. The multi-talented is also a two-time Academy Award winner. Affleck has done it all in Hollywood, even playing Batman multiple times.


Ben Affleck served as not just the director of Air, but also appeared in the film as Phil Knight. Affleck’s close friend, and frequent collaborator, Matt Damon starred in Air as Sonny Vaccaro. Vaccaro played a significant role in recruiting Jordan to Nike. The film featured a spectacular cast that also included Chris Tucker, Jason Bateman, and Viola Davis.

air movie

An Old School Triumph

Air is an incredibly well-crafted and entertaining film that spotlights the relationship between MJ and Nike. It is an old school film, not just because it takes place in the 1980s, but because of its lo-fi story. In a world where we are currently bombarded with superhero films and larger than life characters, it is nice to look at a real life hero in a biographical story set in the real world. Air honors the legacy of Nike and Michael Jordan with a fun and feel good story.


- Adam C. Better