‘I Was Like How You Get My Number?’: Marlon Wayans Says Ben Affleck Personally Called Him to Star In ‘Air’

Marlon Wayans is starring in a new Warner Bros. film that details the revolutionary partnership that took Nike’s struggling brand to the next level in 1984.

“Air” shows how former sports executive Sonny Vaccaro and Nike created a pitch for young basketball star Michael Jordan to partner with the brand and become the face of a sneaker that is still widely popular today: the Air Jordan.

In the film, Wayans plays the former head coach at the University of Iowa, George Raveling, who talked Jordan into signing with the shoe company. During an appearance on “Good Morning America,” he revealed that the film’s director, Ben Affleck, personally called him to be a part of the project.

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Beverly Hills, California – MARCH 27: Marlon Wayans attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/FilmMagic)

The comedian said at first, he was thrown off by the call as he jokingly thought, “‘How’d you get my number?’” He said, “Then I realized he played Batman, so he probably had his ways.”

Wayans was referring to the 2016 film “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” when Affleck first took on the legendary superhero before reprising the role in 2017 for the “Justice League” film.

The 50-year-old continued, “Actually he called me and he talked to me for literally 45 minutes. He was just like, you know, ‘There’s this part, George Raveling, the guy he’s amazing, and he told me, ‘you know I’m looking for a great actor but somebody funny somebody that can improvise.’ ”

Little did Affleck know, it didn’t take much for Wayans to jump on board. He said, “Ben you had me at hello.”

Wayans went on to reveal he had a massive shoe collection filled with Jordans after working in shoe stores when he was younger. He joked, “I don’t even have a house. I just live in shoe boxes.”

While the “Air” trailer seems to highlight former sports executive Sonny Vaccaro as the brains behind the partnership, in real life, Michael Jordan gave credit to Coach Raveling for getting him to even consider Nike.

In 2015, the NBA Champion told USA Today, “In all honesty, I never wore Nike shoes until I signed with Nike. I was a big Adidas, Converse guy coming out of college. Then actually my parents made me go out to (Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.) to hear their proposal.”

“Prior to all of that, Sonny likes to take the credit. But it really wasn’t Sonny, it was actually George Raveling. George Raveling was with me on the 1984 Olympics team (as an assistant coach under Bob Knight). He used to always try to talk to me, ‘You gotta go Nike, you gotta go Nike. You’ve got to try.’ “

Raveling had his own endorsement deal with Nike at the time, which was also secured by Vacarro. While Jordan did give credit to Vaccaro for proposing the deal, he reiterated that it was Raveling’s persuasion that got him interested.

Jordan said, “When I got a chance to play in the Olympics, I became very good friends with George Raveling. He’s the one, in all honestly, that really persuaded me to look at Nike, because I wasn’t ready to look at Nike.”

“Air” is now in theaters, also starring Affleck, Chris Tucker, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, and Matt Damon.

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