As mentioned last week, Ben Affleck was part of NBA’s All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City with the league announcing ahead of Friday’s Celebrity All-Star Game that he would be on the mic for the introductions.
This is all part of the promotion of his upcoming film, AIR, about how Nike signed Michael Jordan and changed sneakers forever. The trailer was played during the event and as I noted this week, that’s a huge marketing boost for the movie. This is a story for this particular audience. And it really does seem like the league gave him the platform. In addition to introducing the starting lineups for the Celebrity All-Star Game, there was also a press conference.
One of the big question marks about AIR is the absence of Michael Jordan. While it doesn’t seem like MJ has much involvement in the film, Ben alluded to the fact that MJ was consulted about the story – and that he did have a note:
Ben Affleck says the only real request that Michael Jordan had was that Viola Davis plays his mom pic.twitter.com/QKb6gLxub1— Robert Littal BSO (@BSO) February 17, 2023
Ben was also asked about the decision to not have Michael Jordan in the film at all and this is his answer:
On Michael Jordanâ€™s 60th birthday the great @BasketballGuruD asks Ben Affleck why Jordan wonâ€™t show up in the AIR movie. Heâ€™s gives incredible answer pic.twitter.com/NKMJxC9jYi— Robert Littal BSO (@BSO) February 17, 2023
From what I’ve seen, people seem pretty satisfied with this answer. Because he makes great points, he can obviously, as a storyteller, defend this creative decision. Ben is now an experienced filmmaker, an experienced director. He is, factually, an acclaimed filmmaker. Argo, after all, is an Oscar Best Picture winner. He also has an Oscar for screenwriting Good Will Hunting. I know he’s been memed so much it’s easy to forget this but… well… it’s not like he doesn’t know what he’s doing with a story. And moments like these remind you that he’s can be very good at that job.
But he was wearing multiple hats this weekend. On the work side Ben was there for his movie. On the personal side he was there because he’s a dad. Last week I wondered which voice he would use for the game introductions. Batman or Boston? Neither, it turns out. Ben was there with Dad Voice, he was there with his son, Samuel, who joined him on the microphone. And you can tell, Samuel is JACKED about the opportunity.
Ben Affleck and his son Samuel introduce the 2023 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game starting lineups: Part 1/2 pic.twitter.com/WiGXMpAerX— Bennifer Updates (@BenniferUpdates) February 18, 2023
Samuel was also seen shooting around a bit on the court – which would have been a THRILL for anyone – and met several celebrities and athletes, including Shaq.
Shaq and Ben Affleck. ðŸ˜‚— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 18, 2023
I know it looks like Shaq wasn’t feeling that kiss, LOL, and that’s what the internet is running with but these two actually have a thing - Shaq has kissed Ben before too, he kissed Ben first. You can see it at the end of this interview from 2016. And a couple of years ago, when Ben was promoting his movie The Way Back, Ben once again was on NBA on TNT and Shaq seemed pretty emotional on the air, telling Ben that he knew he’d been going through a hard time and that he was proud of him. You can see that at the 4:20 mark here. So these two go way back. And this weekend was just a continuation of that vibe.