No matter how big you are in Hollywood, Michael Jordan will put the fear of God into you. At least, that’s how Ben Affleck described meeting the legendary sports figure ahead of filming the movie Air: Courting a Legend.
The film is set in 1984, before Nike was the iconic brand it is today, and centers around the company’s pitch to land Jordan on an endorsement deal. Affleck, who directed the movie and portrayed Nike co-founder Phil Knight, told the story of meeting with Jordan ahead of filming and asking the Basketball Hall of Famer who he would want to play his mother.
“Michael Jordan is, for those of you who don’t know, the most intimidating, impressive man you’ll ever see in real life,” Affleck said at the movie’s world premiere at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, this past week. “He talked about his mother. … He just said, ’None of this would have ever happened without my mother doing everything.’
“I said, ‘Who would you like to play your mom?’ And he said, ‘It has to be Viola Davis,’” Affleck continued.
Naturally, Jordan got his wish. Davis portrays his mother, Deloris Jordan, in the movie, and Affleck had nothing but reverence for the legendary performer.
“I always felt that if I was a director one day, and I had Viola Davis in a movie, that would really be something. That would mean the world to me,” Affleck said. “And I gotta say, it really does. This is the best night of my professional life, and I wanna welcome the best actor in the world: Viola.”