Famed musician Little Richard (born Richard Wayne Penniman) passed away at 87 Saturday, sparking quite a few notable tributes. One of those came from director Spike Lee, who posted a 1991 Air Jordan commercial he directed featuring himself (in character as Mars Blackmon from She’s Gotta Have It) rubbing Aladdin’s lamp, and Little Richard appearing as a genie who turns Blackmon into Michael Jordan:
Rest In Peace To One Of The True Creators Of Rock And Roll. This Is The Commercial I Directed With Little Richard And Michael Jordan, 1991. pic.twitter.com/51bEV1eYKB
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLeeJoint) May 9, 2020
This isn’t anywhere as weird as the strangest commercials Jordan appeared in, and it actually works pretty well. And Little Richard is a great figure to incorporate there as the genie. This is a fun look back at some of the early Air Jordan advertising (which fits with what people have been watching in The Last Dance), and it’s a neat tribute from Lee. Little Richard obviously did a whole lot of more important things than sell Nike products, winning fame for both his songwriting and his performance style, but from a sports side, it’s interesting to see a look back at a time when he was working with Lee and Jordan on Air Jordan ads.