“Air” may be about Michael Jordan’s game-changing shoe, but Jordan himself is at the periphery of the film. One reason why is Ben Affleck didn’t want to attempt to replicate an athlete of such mythical proportions. It’s also because Jordan was still a nascent star in 1984. “Remember, Michael was a 22-year-old kid,” Affleck said in an appearance on “Good Morning America.” “There was somebody who was really making sure that he was protected and taken care of. What I love about this movie is you think it’s about Michael Jordan, and then you find out it’s about somebody else.”
It took speaking to Jordan directly for Affleck to realize that the real protagonist is Jordan’s mother, Deloris, played in “Air” by Viola Davis. “He actually talked about his mom, who wasn’t really in the script,” Affleck recalled to The Hollywood Reporter. “That’s when I understood what the movie was. Talking to him about his mom was incredibly moving, and I realized, ‘Oh, this isn’t about Nike.'” Deloris was instrumental in her son signing with Nike, and years later the company returned the favor by designing the “Dear Deloris” Jordan Series .02. If that isn’t sequel fodder we don’t know what is.