It’s 1984, Reagan is in the White House, Apple launches its first Macintosh and Michael Jordan has yet to set foot on an NBA parquet. But with which shoes? Converse and Adidas share the market for top conference teams, stars on posters and college seniors. Nike, the company named after the goddess of victory that no one knows how to pronounce, lags far behind. And for Phil Knight, its co-founder and runner in college and soul, it can’t go well.
This is why for some time now it has hired Sonny Vaccaro in the basketball division, a talent scout who has crossed the high school and university buildings of half the United States, where he shook hands with all the coaches, assistants and players he managed to to arrive. The goal is one and only one, sign the next NBA star on the pitching ramp to the scoreboard. The goal, in view of the 1984 draft, is the one with Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, John Stockton and – why not? – Oscar Schmidt, it’s one and only one: Michael Jeffrey Jordan, from Brooklyn, New York, junior from North Carolina. The GOAT.
The rune-logos of Nike and Air Jordan told through the human and capitalist process that creates and sustains them.
How do you stop the passage of time in a lump of shining amber and decide that that is the moment where everyone understood something of what everyone has defined as the greatest basketball player of all time – to put it like Martin who addresses Rust in True Detective, and warn how high the bar is set, “You are the Michael Jordan of being a son of a bitch.” Sonny Vaccaro singled in the 1982 North Carolina title shot against Georgetown (MJ, 19); many would go for the “Flu Game” that put the Bulls up one in the 1997 Finals against the Utah Jazz (MJ, 34).
Here instead we throw ourselves into the training match played between the members of the basketball Dream Team in 1992 in Monte Carlo, four days before the start of the Barcelona Olympics: 5 against 5, Magic Johnson on one side, MJ on the other, Larry Bird lying on the sidelines with back pain, Christian Laettner from college on the bench because only the greats play. It ends as it ends, and later, while Magic and Bird are in the room talking, Jordan enters and exclaims “There’s a new sheriff in town”, the two Lakers and Celtics look at each other, nudge each other and laughing affirm “It’s not lying”.
Here, it is precisely at this crossroads of symbols, figures and horizons that Ben Affleck frames his Air – The story of the great leap. However, placing it for a moment below and to the side of the notorious display of anni mirabiles such as ’82, ’92 or ’97, when people worked behind the scenes to prepare the stage for the evolutions both on the parquet and in the marketing of the 23 in the Bulls jersey . It was 1984 and Jordan had to decide whether or not to leave North Carolina a year before the expected four, go through the NBA scouts to understand what his team would be and choose which sports brand to tie his image with.

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