“Historically Been Taken Advantage Of”: Worried Ben Affleck Brings Underlying Message of Michael Jordan Movie to Surface

Published 04/01/2023, 12:10 PM EDT

Follow Us

via Imago

Ben Affleck’s new project “Air” has been creating a lot of buzz in both the sports and the entertainment industry ever since it was first announced. The Michael Jordan-Nike deal-inspired film was recently screened at SXSW and received a standing ovation, further increasing the expectations of the audience. With the release date of “Air” less than a week away, the entire cast has been diligently promoting the film while also revealing snippets of facts surrounding the production. A major question that has been circling in the minds of fans was addressed by the director himself in a recent chat session.

America’s Favorite Video Today

The movie is all set to hit the screens on April 5 and boasts a rather impressive star cast. Led by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Viola Davis, the film also features Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, and Marlon Wayans. During a recent sit-down, Affleck revealed how his movie was inspired by the major problem of big brands taking advantage of the naivete of young athletes and offering them contracts with diminishing returns.

What inspired Ben Affleck to direct “Air”?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The cast of the upcoming sports drama recently made an appearance on Entertainment Weekly’s Around The Table. Director Ben Affleck, who plays the role of Nike founder Phil Knight in the movie, shared the inspiration behind his newest venture. The “Batman” actor stated that he found the business side of the story interesting for one particular reason. It was the difference between getting paid a salary based on a contract and claiming ownership to one’s deserved share.

via Imago

Affleck said, “Oftentimes, I’ve seen that whether it’s entertainment business or sports business and businesses where you have like young people, you know, coming in and signing contracts, are historically been taken advantage of frankly and paid, you know, far less than the wealth that they generate for other people.”

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest NBA stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

I would argue that’s still the case, for example, when college athletes are not paid inexplicably,” he added.

Furthermore, Affleck stated how it ‘baffled’ him that players who actually do all the work to generate the revenue for a particular sports apparel basically get paid nothing.  Whereas, several other parties benefit from the billions of dollars of revenue generated.

He then added the movie revolved around that particular aspect and ‘the step towards something more fair, which is a place I don’t think we’ve yet arrived at, but that initial momentous step and the ripple effect that had on the business downstream’.

Affleck argued that ‘Air’ is important because it actually shows a Black athlete claiming ownership of a part of a brand deal, instead of just signing an endorsement deal. Incidentally, Nike, being a budding company back then, offered MJ stocks of the company instead of just money, which prompted the rise of the Jordan brand.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Matt Damon Makes the Ugly Side of Historic Michael Jordan Deal Public: “Relationships All Frayed and Fractured…Sense of Betrayal…”

The iconic Michael Jordan-Nike deal

When they first signed the contract in 1984, neither Michael Jordan nor Nike could anticipate the amount of success the deal brought to them. The contract was originally worth $500,000 a year but once the first edition of Nike Air Jordan hit the market, there was no turning back. MJ has earned a total of over $1 billion since he first signed a deal with the sports brand.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

WATCH THIS STORY: ” ‘I never heard it from Michael Jordan’: Hurt by the last dance betrayal Isiah Thomas still seeks an apology”

As for Nike, the deal put them on the map. Back at the time, Nike did not have the same value as Adidas and Converse. Despite having an understandably limited budget, the brand went all in with the Chicago Bulls legend and the rest is history.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Siyari Debbarma

894Articles

One take at a time

Siyari Debbarma is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. She is currently pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering and previously interned at the Y-East Organization as a content writer. Siyari has played quite a bit of basketball throughout her school years, and started following the NBA last year.
Show More>

Edited by:

Satagni Sikder

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today