Air Jordan: A Cultural Phenomenon

Air Jordan: A Cultural Phenomenon

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. He may also be America’s first black cultural icon, blazing a trail for other African American athletes like LeBron James.

Besides his performance on the court, Jordan rocketed to fame on the back of a clever and innovative marketing campaign to sell sneakers, and a shrewd business model that made him a billionaire.

However, has success come with a price? Well, Nike and Jordan have made billions of dollars. They have also created a shoe culture that see some misguided youth literally killing each other to get their hands on the latest pair of Air Jordans.

Yemi Bamiro and Will Thorne capture all of this in their recently released documentary One Man and His Shoes. We recently caught up with Yemi and Will from their homes in London and Berlin.

Time Stamps:

3:13 – The film we are talking about today – One Man And His Shoes.
6:10 – The film’s release.
7:50 – The synopsis of the film.
10:00 – What things were like at Nike before Michael Jordan’s sneaker deals.
13:07 – First clip: the state of the market before the Jordan phenomenon.
15:04 – The role of Sonny Vaccaro in creating Air Jordan.
19:10 – The people who are featured in the film.
21:16 – Second clip: the roots of making Michael Jordan a cultural icon.
24:11 – The role of Spike Lee in the Jordan phenomenon.
29:50 – How archive videos, graphics and animation are used in the film.
33:00 – The dark side of Air Jordan and an unfortunate legacy of the sneakers.
38:15 – How Air Jordan became the Ferrari of sneakers and a cultural currency.
44:35 – What attitude the filmmakers have towards all sides of the Air Jordan brand story.
50:58 – How long it took from the original idea to the complete documentary.
56:00 – Where the film is being distributed and shown.
1:00:01 – The perspective of Yemi and Will as UK filmmakers on a quintessential American story.
1:06:35 – Whether there were any reactions from Nike and Michael Jordan on the film.
1:09:28 – What is next for Yemi and Will as first-time filmmakers.
1:16:44 – How to get in touch with Yemi and Will.


One Man And His Shoes (2020)
Break Em Films
Sole Man (2015)
Your Sneakers or Your Life by Rick Telander
This Is Distorted
Alamo Pictures

Connect with Yemi Bamiro:

Connect with Will Thorne:

Connect with Factual America:

Connect with Matthew Sherwood:

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Episode 27