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One Man and His Shoes, is all about shoes and shoe culture. Beginning in the 80s, when Michael Jordan was just a promising basketball player in North Carolina and Nike was considered to be an also-ran in the shoe business, the documentary shows how Michael Jordan and the shoes named after him revolutionised American culture. At a time when shoe companies like Converse were making cringe-worthy commercials that featured Larry Bird and several other players rapping about their shoes, Nike reinvented the game by teaming up with Michael Jordan and bringing in Spike Lee to film their commercials.

If the first half of the documentary celebrates the success of Jordan and Nike, the second half takes a critical look at the violence that has sprung up over the shoes. Nike is faulted for 

aggressively advertising the shoes and then only released a limited amount of them at a time. As a result, the shoes become a status symbol that are difficult to get and which some people are willing to kill to possess. The documentary goes from celebrating Jordan and Nike to 

condemning them for refusing to speak out about the violence surrounding their product. As one interviewee puts it, Jordan telling people to “knock it off” wouldn’t end all of the violence but it wouldn’t hurt. The documentary ends with the wrenching tale of a man in Houston who was killed for his shoes. When the murder became national news, Jordan personally sent the grieving family a pair of the new Air Jordans. The dead man’s sister explains that she didn’t feel safe wearing them in public because, if anyone saw them in her possession, they might kill her as well.

“The most compelling part of the documentary is when it calls into question the 

negative effects of the ‘Cult of Nike’ and in particular the criticisms that have been 

levelled at Michael Jordan: his disinterest in taking a stand on social and racial issues affecting young black Americans (while he and Nike are happy to take their money) and, in particular, the awful phenomenon of young people being killed solely for their ‘Jordans’. Overall, it’s an examination of how popular culture can be hijacked and hacked, how humans can be manipulated into associating athletic ability, competitive success, self-worth, desire and esteem - with a shoe.” - Jarrod Walker, Filmink

One Man And His Shoes - Yemi Bamiro Interview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tfq7zWmsR9A

  • Year
  • Runtime
    83 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Yemi Bamiro
  • Cast
    Peter Moore, Dazie Williams, David Stern, Sonny Vaccaro, David Falk, Jemele Hill, Scoop Jackson.