‘Air’: Read The Screenplay That Tells The Story Of How Nike Swooshed In To Land Michael Jordan

Deadline’s Read the Screenplay series spotlighting the year’s most talked-about scripts continues with first-timer Alex Convery’s screenplay for the Ben Affleck-directed Air.

Did you know that Michael Jordan makes $400 million a year in passive income due to the percentage he gets from the sale of Air Jordans? To understand how this came to be, we must travel back to the 1980s and the campus of famed sneaker label Nike, where Sonny Vaccaro (played by Matt Damon), a daring sneaker salesman, is on an ambitious quest to sign Jordan, arguably the most game-changing sports figure ever.

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Affleck plays the role of Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who focuses on Nike’s improbable bid to land Jordan. While it seemed an unlikely feat at the time, it ultimately forged the most impactful partnership between a sports brand and an athlete, turning the global sneaker industry into a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

Convery said during Deadline’s recent Contenders Film: Los Angeles that the key to cracking the script, about something in which the outcome is already known, was to focus on the journey of Damon’s Vaccaro, who he says in real life never got the full recognition for helping land Jordan.

“If you can get the audience to care about the character, they’re going to forget that they know the ending,” Convery said. “Argo was similar. Titanic, you know how that’s going to end, but you care about Jack and Rose.”

Viola Davis, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, Jason Bateman and Julius Tennon also star in Air, which debuted in March at SXSW at hit theaters in April via MGM before becoming available on Amazon’s Prime Video. It hails from Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures.

Click below to read the script.

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