Air, the new film, from Matt Damen and Ben Affleck, about Nike courting Michael Jordan, truly fires on all cylinders. It’s cheesy but not too cheesy. It has the proper dose of nostalgia. The performances are solid. The soundtrack hits and hits at the correct times. It never drags. It never moves too fast. You know what’s coming, but you still feel surprised, especially as the film unveils a game-changing moment in business and culture we have never seen or heard of — when Deloris Jordan asks Nike for a piece of the pie. Deloris asks for the unprecedented; she asks for a share of the revenue from every pair of Jordan brand sneakers sold. As a kid who grew up in the 90s, two hours from Chicago, I never thought the scene without Michael Jordan in it would make me smile the most.
It makes me think about my experience asking for a piece of the pie. The conversation was with my CEO and took place in an electrical closet. The startup I was with had outgrown our office, meaning we had to get creative with meeting rooms. (hah!) I started as an hourly copywriter but grew into a salaried role and a crucial member of the larger marketing team. I knew my value and worth, set a meeting on his calendar, and stated my case. It didn’t turn out to be as big of a win as the Jordan brand ($4.2B as of 2021), but it was the first time I had a slice of the pie, and you can’t put a price on that feeling. Knowing I had skin in the game that I made a bet on myself, it felt good.
Cheers to the real Air Jordan, Deloris Jordan — and everyone betting on themselves.