When the Chicago Bulls picked a talented young Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA draft, little did they know what effect the titan would have on the sport. However, whilst he was undoubtedly one of the best players of his generation, the University of North Carolina graduate’s meteoric rise to fame was to a large degree down to his shoe sponsor, Nike. They put all their eggs is the right basket and created a sensation which goes far beyond basketball.
In Yemi Bamiro’s new documentary, One Man and His Shoes, he charts the rise of one of the most persistent and surprising cultural phenomena: Air Jordan. It’s a tale which is bathed in social, racial and political undertones. How a highly creative marketing campaign led to the brand becoming a multi-million-dollar business. However, there’s also a darker side to this story, with people being prepared to kill for their own pair.
One Man and His Shoes is an interesting and informative film which delves into the darker side of America’s rampant consumerism. It’s clear that Nike’s high cost, low supply model fuelled unwanted behaviour, but it also made them the most recognisable trainers in the world. Bamiro casts his net wide to cover every aspect of this story. Although, the absence of key players is decidedly noticeable, One Man and His Shoes is still a fascinating cultural episode.
One Man and His Shoes screened at London Film Festival. It will be released in cinemas on 23 October and VoD on 26 October.