In case you missed the memo, Michael Jordan is kind of a big deal.
Case in point, Isaiah Thomas’ archnemesis is a six-time NBA champ, six-time Finals MVP, five-time league MVP, 157-time NBA All-Star, a serial tongue wagger , disrespectful shrugger , and nine out of 10 barbershops will tell you he’s the greatest basketball player who ever lived. (The sole defector cast its vote for Smush Parker.)
That kind of a big deal.
So the fact that a movie is coming out that details Jordan’s ascension into a basketball deity isn’t exactly surprising, but the fact that
suffering Charlotte Hornets owner
was adamant that
play his Mom in the film might put a few jaws on the floor.
“I had a chance to sit down with Michael Jordan, because I just wasn’t going to make this movie without asking him, ‘What matters to you?’ Interestingly, and tellingly, he had a few things that mattered,” Affleck said while introducing the film.
Among those requests was that Howard White, VP of Jordan Brand, be involved in the project. That’s cute and all, but how does Davis fit into the equation?
“I got the script and then had the chance again to talk to Michael. Michael Jordan, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the most intimidating, impressive men you’ll ever see in your life,” Affleck said. “He told me about is father. And then he talked about his mother. It was the first time I saw this look cross his face. It was a look of reverence, of awe, of love, and gratitude, and innocence. He said, ‘None of this would have ever happened without my mother.’ I said, ‘Who would you like to play your mom?’ He said, ‘Well, it has to be Viola Davis.
“That’s like saying, ‘Can I play basketball on your court?’ ‘Yeah, if you get Michael Jordan.’ “Viola Davis is the best actor I’ve ever seen,” Affleck continued. “This is a hard business. It’s hard to know if you’re successful. It’s hard to know if you’ve accomplished something. But honest to God, 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. And it does.”
Of course, it does. So much so that Mr. Jennifer Lopez called the Air premiere “the best night of my professional life” before introducing “the best actor in the world,” The Woman King herself.
And for those wondering how Viola felt about being handpicked by His Airness to play the incomparable Deloris Jordan, the EGOT winner was just as surprised as the rest of us.
“I’m just hearing about it now,” she told People on the red carpet. “So it blew my mind. I’m glad I didn’t know about it before.”
Viola’s presence is a present and Air will only be better for it when it arrives in theatres on April 5.