Sports Drama ‘Air’ Set for Network TV Debut

A scene from the film Air featuring Viola Davis and Julius Tennon (Credit: Amazon Studios)

Following positive reviews, the Ben Affleck-directed film Air will soon make its broadcast TV debut.

The sports drama, which tells the story behind the massively successful partnership between then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division, will premiere on ABC June 11, the network said in a recent press release.

Air came from Amazon Studios, and arrived in theaters on April 5, 2023.

The film starred Oscar winners Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Viola Davis.

Damon played Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro who eventually signed Jordan. Affleck co-starred as Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Davis, along with her real-life husband Julius Tennon, played Jordan’s parents Deloris and James Jordan.

The cast also included Jason Bateman Rob Strasser, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, and Marlon Wayans.

Notably, Michael Jordan did not appear in the film, and the actor who portrayed him only made a brief cameo. According to NBA.com, that was all part of Affleck’s strategy.

“I thought the minute I turn the camera on somebody and ask the audience to believe that person was Michael Jordan, the whole movie falls apart. When somebody is that powerful, where just their silhouette is a globally recognized phenomenon, you lose people,” the director and actor told the outlet.

Affleck added, “Michael was not paid, his rights aren’t being authorized. That would be a different movie, the Michael Jordan story, and that’s not what he wanted to do either.”

Although he didn’t appear in the film, Jordan provided Affleck with a list of requests for the project, including having Viola Davis play his mother.

The film received strong reviews from critics, boasting a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In terms of its box office performance, the film made $90 million worldwide against a reported budget of $70 million to $90 million, before it debuted on Prime Video.

Air will make its broadcast TV debut on Tuesday, June 11, from 8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT, on ABC.

Watch an interview with Chris Tucker about the film below.

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