There’s no telling where the sneaker industry would be today had Nike not signed a young Michael Jordan in 1984. So iconic is the story of Nike’s pursuit of the Chicago Bulls rookie that actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are joining forces to bring it to the big screen.
The feature film will follow Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike sports marketing executive who relentlessly worked to get Jordan on its endorsee roster. Affleck takes the credit as the film’s director and co-writer, also starring as the Swoosh’s head honcho and billionaire shoe dog Phil Knight. Damon will work as a producer and co-writer while playing the part of Vaccaro. As of now, it’s still undisclosed who will fill Michael Jordan’s size 13 shoes in the movie, literally and metaphorically.
All the balls in one basket — Back in 1984, a fresh-faced Michael Jordan was about to start his first season and was in need of a sponsor. Although he had his heart set on Adidas, Nike was keen on nurturing his untapped potential and offered a multi-million dollar deal (a number unheard-of for sports endorsements at the time). A persistent Vaccaro met with Jordan’s parents, former coaches, advisers, and friends, and eventually persuaded the rookie to take the deal.
With where Nike and Jordan Brand are today, it’s safe to say the partnership changed the course of the industry forever. The film will likely include the infamous story of Jordan getting fined $5,000 every time he wore the Air Ship sneakers, aka the pre-Jordans, for breaking the NBA’s uniform rules. According to Variety, Alex Convery’s original script for the film appeared on the 2021 Black List, an annual ranking of Hollywood’s best unproduced scripts.
Before The Last Duel (2021) and The Leisure Class (2015), it’d been a minute since we’d seen Affleck and Damon share a screen. The duo has acted in a total of twelve films together, most notably the classic Good Will Hunting (1997). Jordan himself took part in the can’t-miss 2020 The Last Dance documentary series, which chronicled an in-depth look at the Bulls’ reign during the ‘90s.
Whether the Bulls legend will make a cameo in the film or be an official consultant remains to be seen. Either way, the Affleck/Damon flick is sure to capture the hearts of Jordan fans, sneakerheads, and those that love a good underdog story.