Over the past few Sundays, ESPN’s The Last Dance has made quarantine much more bearable. The ten-episode documentary focuses on Michael Jordan and his rise to stardom with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan went on to win six championships with the franchise along with snagging major endorsement deals during his career. Most notable is his Air Jordan collaboration with Nike.
The Last Dance touches on the Air Jordan and how it became a massive entity on its own, but the film failed to dive deeply into how Jordan changed the sneaker market and, most important, how it affected the Black community. Next week, Vice will premiere One Man and His Shoes, which examines Nike and Jordan’s part in marketing the shoes to inner-city kids. While every kid loved to have a pair of Jordans on their feet, it sometimes cost them their life.
In The Last Dance, Jordan talked briefly about why he never spoke on political issues. Unlike the icon, today’s athletes like Colin Kaepernick and Lebron James freely voice their opinions on such matters. Even though Kaepernick lost his job, he has nabbed a Nike endorsement and started his Know Your Rights Camp. In the eighties and nineties, the climate was different for Black athletes, so they could have ended up being blacklisted for speaking their minds. In One Man and His Shoes, the hour-and-a-half-long documentary poses this question: “Could Nike and Jordan have prevented violence over the shoes if they had said something?” One Man and His Shoes premieres this Monday at 8 p.m. ET on Vice TV.
Check out this exclusive clip below.