One Man and his Shoes
Beginning in the 80s, when Michael Jordan was just a promising basketball player in North Carolina and Nike was considered to be an also-ran in the shoe business, the documentary shows how Michael Jordan and the shoes named after him revolutionised American culture.
At a time when shoe companies like Converse were making cringe-worthy commercials that featured Larry Bird and several other players rapping about their shoes, Nike reinvented the game by teaming up with Michael Jordan and bringing in Spike Lee to film their commercials.
If the first half of the documentary celebrates the success of Jordan and Nike, the second half takes a critical look at the violence that has sprung up over the shoes. Nike is faulted for aggressively advertising the shoes and then only released a limited amount of them at a time. As a result, the shoes become a status symbol that are difficult to get and which some people are willing to kill to possess. The documentary goes from celebrating Jordan and Nike to condemning them for refusing to speak out about the violence surrounding their product.
'The most compelling part of the documentary is when it calls into question the negative effects of the ‘Cult of Nike’ and in particular the criticisms that have been levelled at Michael Jordan: his disinterest in taking a stand on social and racial issues affecting young black Americans (while he and Nike are happy to take their money) and, in particular, the awful phenomenon of young people being killed solely for their ‘Jordans’. Overall, it’s an examination of how popular culture can be hijacked and hacked, how humans can be manipulated into associating athletic ability, competitive success, self-worth, desire and esteem - with a shoe.' - Jarrod Walker, Filmink