Air is a movie based on true events that tells the story of Nike's pursuit of signing a contract with Michael Jordan and creating a new line of sports shoes. The movie starts most talented actors like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, and Chris Tucker. Great acting, beautiful cinematography, amazing story! I highly recommend the movie. It is available on Amazon Prime Video.
Spoiler Alert: This post may contain spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie yet and would prefer to avoid spoiler, please stop reading here. Feel free to return after watching the movie.
Imaging making $400 million every year as a passive income. The key word here is passive. That is how much Michael Jordan makes from Nike's Air Jordan line. Making millions would sound great to anybody even if it required hard work and a lot of active involvement. Jordan may not have been involved in designing, manufacturing, and selling the shoes. However, there is no doubt his talent and a lot of hard work in his profession made them a valuable product. To borrow a line from the movie - it is not about the shoes, it is about who steps into them. Air is a movie that tells the story of success. Success of Nike as a company. Success of Michael Jordan as an athlete. It is also a story of a successful business deal that resulted in a mutually beneficial outcome.
It interesting how recently there has been no shortage of new movies based on true events, and present interesting business dealings of the past that have impacted decades that followed. You too may have noticed this, based on my recent movie review posts. Some of are The Founder that tells the story of McDonalds, Tetris that tells the story of licensing deal for the Tetris game. Just like these movies, Air was made well and is great work of art, all while telling one of the great stories.
I am not a huge fan of any sports or products associated with them. But I do enjoy quality movies and great stories that contain historic, educational, and inspirational lessons. Air definitely an excellent choice for a movie night.
This movie wouldn't be possible without Michael Jordan and the entire story revolves around him. However, Jordan is not the main character in the movie. The movie is not necessarily about Michael Jordan and his basketball career. The main character in the movie is Sonny Vaccaro, Nike's marketing executive. Vaccarro is played by Matt Damon. Ben Affleck plays the role of Nike's founder Phil Knight. Affleck is also the director of the movie. He does great acting as Phil Knight. However, his appearances are very limited. Knight makes the ultimate business decisions at the end, but wasn't the one actually made the deal possible. Knight initially didn't even believe it was a good idea.
Sonny Vaccaro sets himself a goal to sign Michael Jordan with Nike for their basketball devision. As sports footwear company, Nike was among the companies who would sign contracts with top athletes to promote their brand and products. Nike was a successful company, but it wasn't the number one company. It had competition. Adidas was more successful, and there was another company in the space, Converse. Compared to Adidas and Converse, Nike was the third. Similarly Michael Jordan wasn't the best basketball player at the time, yet. He was a young athlete who was successful, but yet had more to show. When signing athletes for basketball devision, Jordan is presented as a third option. Both Nike and Jordan not being the top in the specialties yet, they had great potential. In retrospect it seems they would be great partners. But it wasn't this obvious at that time. Jordan didn't want a deal with Nike. Jordan was impressed by Adidas.
Nike didn't have deep pockets like Adidas or Converse did, or their basketball devision's budget was low. Nike had planned to spend $250k a year for this marketing deal. But their original plan was to spend this money for deals with multiple athletes. On the other hand Adidas was ok with spending that much or more for one athlete. Jordan didn't even like Nike shoes and wore Adidas shoes himself. It looked like Nike and Jordan would only be possible by miracle. The only person who really wanted this deal and had the vision was Sonny Vaccaro. Vacarro saw something nobody else did, expect another main character in the movie, Jordan's mother.
Obsessed with the idea of signing Michael Jordan, Vaccaro puts aside all of his projects and decides to only focus on getting the deal with Jordan. Despite numerous efforts to setup a meeting with Jordans through their agent, Vacaro never gives up. Micahel Jordan already had his mind made up regarding his preference of the company. But he wasn't the only decision maker. He trusted his parents, especially his mother in helping with these important decisions. Vaccaro didn't have money to offer either. He still had to convince Phil Knight to increase the budget or to spend the entire budget on one athlete. Knight strongly disagreed. All odds stacks against him, Vaccaro decides to do something that could cost him his career and reputation. He decides to travel to visit Jordan's in their house. During his visit he is not able to meet Michael Jordan, but meets his parents. One of the best scenes of the movie is Vaccaro's discussion with Jordan's mother. It become clear at this point that the people who had the vision were Vaccaro and Jordan's mother. They both had great ideas and goals in this deal. However, their vision wasn't the same one. But one completed the other.
Vaccaro could see greatness in Michael Jordan future, and this deal would be one of the brilliant business decisions in Nike's history. Jordan's mother also saw this greatness, even more so than Vaccaro. She did see a benefits of this deal as well. But she had different plans. After their discussion they depart ways with hopes to have an official meeting and opportunity for Nike to make their pitch. Jordan's agent and Phil Knight were not happy when they found out that Vaccaro met with Jordan' mother. But both also saw an opportunity and understood that it would be one of the best moves Vaccaro has done, if he could close the deal. None of this changed how Jordan felt about Nike, and desire to make a deal with Adidas. But this was enough for Michael Jordan to agree for an official meeting.
After meeting with Adidas and Converse executives and marketing team, Jordan pay visit to Nike headquarters. By this time Nike team was able to make a prototype of a shoe that would be named Air Jordans. Unlike Adidas and Converse, Nike was willing to create a new line of shoes, just for Jordan. Meeting goes well, Vaccaro makes his best pitch. However, there was no deal made at the time. They all agree to connect at a later time for the final decision. Days go by, and no response from Jordans. Word in the street is Adidas was planning to make even better offer. Finally, Vaccaro receives a phone call from Jordan's mother. With super clever choice of words Deloris says Jordans agree for a deal with Nike, if Nike added in the contract what the may have omitted by mistake. Deloris says, Michael Jordan is prepared to sign a deal with Nike for $250k a year salary, and the deal had to include percentage of profits from selling Air Jordans.
This was something that hadn't been done before. At this point Viccaro knew the deal wasn't going to happen. He knew Knight wouldn't go for it, and Nike board would disapprove. To Viccaro's big surprise, Phil Knight agrees to pay the share of profits from sales of Air Jordans, and directs him to close the deal. Viccaro calls back Deloris Jordan with the good news. Deal is made. Not just any deal. Greatest deal in the history of business relations between athletes and companies. Nike was expecting to sell $3 million worth of Air Jordans in four years. They sold $26 million in the first year. All of the sudden $250k Nike initially was reluctant to spend, and Jordan initially was happy to accept from Adidas looked like nothing. The Air Jordan line continued to be success for years to come and made billions for both Nike and Jordan.
This deal also set a precedent, and now other athletes were able to negotiate same kinds of deal, which obviously way more fair than what was practiced in the industry. Deals that result in benefits for all parties involved are the best. It is rare to see such deals. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
I first had this movie downloaded a week ago but did not trust it would be interesting. I did not even know had anything to do with finance and passive income, maybe, I could have seen it earlier than that. Necessity made me watch it and I regretted not watching it before then.
I was really proud of Jordan's mom for seeing her son's future and asking for what he was worth. She believed greatly in her son as much as the marketing expert believed in Jordan too.
It was interesting to finally know how Nike came up with their flying athlete's logo. And it was even more inspiring to know that Viccaro believed in Jordan as much as his mom did too. And he was willing to risk the company's budget on him alone instead of the three athletes, Knight had in mind.
Again, like any youngster, I understood why Jordan wanted to identify himself with Adidas but I was impressed by Viccaro's ability to convince his mom that Jordan doesn't necessarily have to make a career around past achievers in Converse neither would she want her son's future to be left in the hands of a company who had a lot of people making decisions at the time... ADIDAS.
So everyone made the right decision in the end, and each individual contributed their quota to make the collaboration profitable.
Thank you for the review.
Dying to watch this one soon. I’m a huge fan of NBA, business, and Matt Damon/Ben Affleck. No doubt this is a story worth listening to considering Jordan has evolved into such a dominant empire.
I haven't seen this movie yet but the way you are telling it is very interesting we will try to watch it in the coming days. Yesterday I got a call from a friend that the next part of Fast and Furious. So our intention this week is that we will sit down and watch it and then I will tell these friends that we will watch this movie too. If you have stopped watching YouTube etc. then you are watching or those who are are watching on Amazon Prime.
It's on my list to watch. I haven't seen it yet so I can read through the whole post. But if it's recommended then I'll bump it up on my list 😁
Sounds an interesting movie. Based on real life event makes it more valuable. People may derive inspiration to take necessary risks in life.
Vaccaro's persistent efforts and confidence brought the outcomes nobody thought of at that time
I haven't watched this movie before but it sounds amazing. Micheal Jordan was definitely someone that was part of the news and I think his story is interesting as an athlete and how that turned into a shoe line.
Damn, one doesn't know how hectic the politics can be in companies and how hard any person might have worked to achieve something unless they make a movie about it...
It sounds more than interesting, I should give it a try. I still need to watch the movie about Apple too.
It was the $400million that you said here got into my head. Hahaha
I have not heard about the movie before but I can search for it
Just watched the trailer, I like Chris Tucker since Rush Hour 1 :)
It was a great movie … !gif michaeljordan
Here is the Actor who played MJ…
Another movie to add on my to view list.
Thank you for the recommendation.
I think these type of deals or decisions based on luck not only on anyone's intelligence
Please, this had more than just luck. This was a carefully thought out plan and one's ability to sell themselves by understanding what they are worth. Vaccaro and Deloris understood this and they played it in the favor of the company and Jordan respectively.
This was a carefully thought out plan and one's ability to sell themselves by understanding what they are worth. Vaccaro and Deloris understood this and they played it in the favor of the company and Jordan respectively.I think these type of deals or decisions based on luck not only on anyone's intelligence
On my list. Will return when I watch it. But thanks for reminding me to watch it asap.