one man and his shoes
REVIEWER: lyall carter
'One Man and His Shoes' tells the story of the phenomenon of Air Jordan sneakers showing their social, cultural and racial significance and how ground-breaking marketing strategies created a multi-billion-dollar business.
The Netflix documentary The Last Dance, which followed Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, touched on the Nike company and Jordan’s relationship with them. One Man and His Shoes explores in depth the development of Nike as a business and its impact, both positively and deadly, on culture.
In the 1980's, Nike was a struggling company and decided to target a younger market. Betting the house on Michael Jordan, and hiring a young Spike Lee to direct the promos, Nike created the perfect platform. Jordan backed it up, becoming the greatest player of all time, and his sneakers attained the same status. But a darker side of this success story emerged in 1989 when the high price tag, and a low supply/high demand strategy fuelled violent attacks and even murder.
One Man and His Shoes explores the true capitalist dream that is the relationship between Nike, Michael Jordan and his Air Jordans. The doco delves deep into everything from the political landscape of the time, to African American culture, and the impact on Western culture of Nike and Air Jordans.
But what began as a positive cultural phenomenon soon descends into violence as people start being killed for their Air Jordans. What shocked me the most was that the latest killing over Air Jordans was only a year ago.
One Man and His Shoes asks poignant and necessary questions of Nike and of Michael Jordan in whether they should shoulder some of the responsibility for making Air Jordans so exclusive and and the violence that results as a part of that.
While it boasts extensive interviews with industry giants One Man and His Shoes lack at least two key players Michael Jordan and Spike Lee in their interviews. But it's hardly their fault when at least Jordan and Nike refused requested interviews.
An intriguing exploration of Nike and their lucrative partnership with Michael Jordan that not only celebrates the famous shoes but severely and rightly corrects their deadly impact.