Chris Tucker Explains Why He Took Role in ‘Air’ After 7-Year Break From Movies (Video)

Chris Tucker attends the premiere of Air on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at the Paramount Theatre during SXSW in Austin, Texas. (Credit: Amazon Studios)

Following a seven-year hiatus from the movie business, Chris Tucker is back in the Ben Affleck-directed film Air.

The sports drama tells the story behind the massively successful partnership between then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division.

Tucker last appeared on the big screen in the 2016 Ang Lee film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.

So what made him say yes to Amazon’s Air?

“I’m playing one of my friends,” Tucker shared on the red carpet Saturday, March 18, at the film’s premiere during the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

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The comedian and actor has a role as former NBA player Howard White, who is now vice president of Jordan Brand for Nike.

“My agents came to me and said, ‘We’ve got a part, Howard White.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute! I know Howard,” Tucker explained.

He then called White who confirmed the script would explore his relationship with Jordan.

“So it was all the good things I like. It was one of my great friends, who I like a lot. Michael Jordan, the Jordan Brand and sports, so I said, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna do this. It will be fun,'” said Tucker.

The actor, who previously starred in Friday, the Rush Hour films and the Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook, added that the film’s cast was a big draw.

“Working with these guys sounds great,” he said.

Air features a star-studded cast, including Oscar winners Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Viola Davis.

Damon plays Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro and Affleck co-stars as Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Davis and her real-life husband Julius Tennon play Jordan’s protective parents Deloris and James Jordan. Jason Bateman co-stars as Rob Strasser, Chris Messina plays David Falk, Marlon Wayans plays George Raveling, and Matthew Maher co-stars as Peter Moore.

Air arrives in theaters on April 5 in advance of its premiere on Prime Video.