Ben Affleck, Matt Damon Team for True Life Story of Nike Sneaker Man Sonny Vaccaro (Exclusive)

Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures are behind the sports marketing drama that began as a spec by Alex Convery about a fledgling running-shoe company called Nike pursuing the most transformative athlete in the history of sports: Michael Jordan.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reuniting once again, this time for the true-life story of former Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro in a feature project that will hail from Amazon Studios and Skydance Sports, who are in the process of finalizing their deal.

Affleck will direct, write, co-star and produce the untitled sports marketing drama, while Damon will star and also write and produce. Mandalay Pictures, the banner run by Peter Guber and Jason Michael Berman, will produce as well.

Damon will portray Vaccaro while Affleck plays Nike co-founder Phil Knight in a story around Nike’s long-shot effort to sign rising superstar basketball player Michael Jordan to a shoe contract in the mid-’80s, an endorsement that seemed impossible at the time but, thanks to the maverick sneaker salesman, would become the most significant relationship between an athletic brand and an athlete ever, launching the global, multibillion-dollar contemporary sneaker industry.

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The story will focus on Vaccaro’s relentless quest to sign Jordan to what was then the third-place shoe company, a journey that took him to Jordan’s parents, and in particular his powerful, dynamic mother, as well as to former coaches, advisers and friends. Jordan will be a mythic figure hovering above the movie and never seen, even as Vaccaro tries to reach him by gaining access to those close to him.

Key in the proceedings is the 2015 ESPN 30 for 30 documentary titled Sole Man, which centers on Vaccaro. Skydance Sports president Jon Weinbach, who served alongside Mandalay chairman Guber as one of the producers of ESPN Films’ Emmy-winning Jordan series The Last Dance, was integral in obtaining Vaccaro’s life rights.

Weinbach worked with the shoe industry veteran when he co-directed Sole Man with now Skydance Sports senior vp Dan Marks. Mandalay first picked up the original screenplay, bought in by vp Jordan Moldo, titled Air Jordan and penned by Alex Convery, and then brought the project to Weinbach at Skydance Sports.

Affleck and Damon are now reworking the script for the project, which will be the first major feature from David Ellison’s newly minted Skydance Sports division. Skydance already has a tie to the sports world through its investor RedBird Capital.

The project will mark the first time Affleck will direct a feature starring his longtime pal, Damon. The two famously won an Oscar for writing the script to Good Will Hunting, which starred Damon and had Affleck in a supporting role and was directed by Gus Van Sant. The pair also reunited last year for The Last Duel, directed by Ridley Scott, with Damon again starring and Affleck in a supporting role.

Convery is a Black List regular, with his script Bag Man landing on the 2018 list and his Stan Lee biopic Excelsior! featured on the 2020 list. He is repped by UTA and Grandview.

Affleck and Damon are repped by WME.