It has now been almost two months since the movie “Air” premiered on Prime Video. The film had an excellent IMDB and Rotten Tomato score, and many people liked it. However, most of them believe that what was said in the movie is completely true and nothing has changed from the real history of the Jordan brand.
But what most people forget is the fact that the movie is an adaptation of a true story. And even though most of the events actually happened, a lot of them were changed to better and more efficient scenes, and that’s to be expected; this is the principle of adaptation. But then, what are the differences between reality and the film?
They made the false legend true
First, spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen the movie, I’m assuming you’ve seen the movie, or you don’t mind being spoiled. All right? Let’s go then! At the Air Jordan’s first design meeting, Peter Moore, played by Matthew Maher; Rob Strasser, played by Jason Bateman; and Sonny Vaccaro, played by Matt Damon, have previously spoken about the infamous Air Jordan fine that Nike allegedly paid every game. For those who don’t know, Nike created a fake legend about the Air Jordan, the fact that it was banned and they had to pay a fine for Michael Jordan to play with it. And in the movie, when the contract isn’t even signed or Michael Jordan isn’t wearing any Nike shoes on the court, they’re already talking about the fine, when in reality they had no idea that they would have problems.
But making this fake legend true isn’t a bad idea. However, another inconsistency makes this scene terrible for sneakerheads. Because the film had badly the colors of the Air Jordan. What was prohibited was a black and red shoe on a basketball court, the Air Jordan 1 Bred, and the use of black color instead of white color was the real problem of this shoe, and that is the main reason why Nike received this supposedly beautiful letter. And, of course, it wasn’t even the Air Jordan 1 Bred that was banned, but the black and red Air Ship, because the Air Jordan wasn’t ready when Michael Jordan started the season in 1984.
In the film, we don’t even talk about the Air Jordan 1 Bred, the supposedly banned Air Jordan, we talk about the Chicago, and Rob Strasser asks Peter Moore to put “more red” on the shoe to create a scandal with the NBA, so they’re talking about the Air Jordan 1 Chicago that never had a problem and was rocked by Michael Jordan during the season. Everything told in this scene is different from reality, and Rob Strasser did not come up with the idea for the commercial; it is the Wieden + Kennedy agency that has produced the most legendary advertisements for the Jordan brand.
No, Adidas wasn’t that interested in Michael Jordan
In the movie, Adidas really wants to sign Michael Jordan, when in reality, that wasn’t the case since Adidas believed more in big centers like Hakeem Olajuwon. For them, Michael Jordan was too small, and that’s why they weren’t interested, and of course, they won’t put the same money as Nike on the table. Also, contrary to what the film says, this decision comes from Kate Dassler, the boss of Adidas, in 1984 after the death of her husband, Adolf Dassler, founder of Adidas. At that time, she was trying to show who was the boss since her colleagues wanted to take over the company by any means and always challenged her decisions.
And while we’re still talking about dating, let’s talk about the one between Michael Jordan and Nike. During the meeting, they discuss NBA rules and show the Air Jordan 1 Chicago, confirming the inconsistency with reality of the Air Jordan design scene with Peter, Rob and Sonny. Finally, concerning the contract, the figures are false. It’s not 250k per year that Nike will offer Michael Jordan, but 500k per year. However, we understand that it is a choice to maintain the suspense. For what? Because the conditions set by MJ’s mother, played by Viola Davis, are much more important. The Jordan family wanted royalties from the sales of the sneakers, and that part was even more groundbreaking than the contract price. And when you know how many Air Jordans Nike sold the first, you understand why MJ’s mom negotiated this, a real businesswoman.
But does that make “Air” a bad movie? Of course not; the movie “Air” is a mind-blowing and incredible lesson in directing a story that, on paper, doesn’t sound so exciting when you’re not a fan of Michael Jordan or sneakers. These changes were made because this is an adaptation, and without these changes the movie might have been boring. Changes to an adaptation are made for a reason; it is and always will be, regardless of the source material.