Comedic actors Chris Tucker (Friday and Rush Hour) and Marlon Wayans (Respect) have signed on to join Emmy winner Jason Bateman and Oscar winners Viola Davis, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck in the latter’s upcoming Nike project. The anticipated movie, which is receiving considerable buzz will also star Matthew Maher (Our Flag Means Death), Tom Papa (Behind the Candelabra), Chris Messina (Sharp Objects) and Julius Tennon (The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar).
The untitled sports marketing film will tell the remarkable story of how sneaker salesman Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) led fledgling running shoe company, Nike, in its pursuit of the most transformative athlete in the history of sports: Michael Jordan. Affleck will direct and star as Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Sonny’s relentless quest for what seemed like an impossible endorsement takes him to Jordan’s parents, former coaches, advisors and Michael Jordan’s friends. This deal was the ultimate beginning of the sneaker game.
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Jason Bateman is tasked with playing the role of Sonny Vaccaro’s boss, Rob Strasser, who was instrumental in Nike’s efforts to sign (and later promote) Jordan. Viola Davis will play Jordan’s mother, Deloris, who was an enormous influence on the basketball legend’s Nike deal. Chris Tucker stars as Howard White, a former college basketball player at the University of Maryland. White served as a junior executive at Nike’s fledgling basketball department in the early 1980s, working with its roster of NBA players which included George Gervin, Artis Gilmore and Moses Malone.
Marlon Wayans has been cast as college basketball trailblazer George Raveling, the first Black coach in two iconic conferences – the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Pacific-10. In 1984, Raveling was the head coach at the University of Iowa and an assistant of the gold medal-winning U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball team where he met and befriend Jordan. A friend of Vaccaro’s, Raveling first introduced the idea of signing Nike and Jordan.
Papa plays Stu Inman, the former Portland Trail Blazers executive who famously selected Sam Bowie over Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft. Tennon plays Jordan’s late father James, who also influenced his son’s decision to sign with Nike. Messina has been tapped to play Jordan’s original agent, David Falk. Maher will play Peter Moore, who designed the first Air Jordans.
Although there are indications that Jordan may not be seen in the movie, his presence looms large as Vaccaro tries to reach him by gaining access to those close to the former Chicago Bulls player. The film has already started production in Los Angeles and will premiere on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.