Former Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro, who featured in ESPN’s 2015 30 for 30 “Sole Man,” and Nike co-founder Phil Knight will be the central characters in the film.
According to reports, Damon will portray Vaccaro and Affleck will play Knight. Affleck and Damon won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for ‘Good Will Hunting’ and the two collaborated on the screenplay and starred in 2021’s ‘The Last Duel’. Affleck, who will direct the film, also won an Oscar for Best film as a producer for “Argo”.
The film will focus on Nike’s efforts to sign Jordan in 1984 when Jordan entered the NBA. Coming out of North Carolina, Jordan was the third pick in the 1984 NBA draft, and Vaccaro managed to do the impossible for what was, at the time, a small shoe company and steer Jordan away from Adidas. , Reebok and Converse. In doing so, Vaccaro helped transform Nike, the relationship between an athlete and a brand, and the sneaker industry as a whole.
“Even though I never imagined myself wearing the (Nike) shoe, the creativity it gave me and the teaching of what it’s all about – what I wear on my feet and how it enhances my abilities athletic – I’m happy with the choice,” Jordan said in 2004.
In 2021, Yahoo! Finance reported that Jordan Brand, a subsidiary of Nike, had $5 billion in revenue, and in 2020, Forbes estimated that Nike had paid Jordan around $1.3 billion since 1984.
Affleck and Damon get to the genesis of it all.
Vaccaro, now 82, helped shape the sneaker industry into what it is today by signing players like Jordan and Kobe Bryant to multi-million dollar shoe deals with Nike.
“I don’t think people understood how my career evolved. I wanted the public to know how sneaker marketing started. For better or worse, that’s who I am,” Vaccaro told ESPN on ‘Sole Man’ in 2015. “I don’t think people understood how my relationship with coaches evolved and how I got involved with Nike. That’s how Jordan came about, that’s how Kobe came in.”
“Sole Man” was co-directed by Jon Weinbach, who is president of Skydance Sports. Weinbach also served as producer on ESPN’s Emmy-winning series “The Last Dance,” which he directed with Mandalay Pictures chairman Peter Guber, who will executive produce the upcoming film. Now they will team up again for another part of Jordan’s story.
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