The story of one-of-the-most popular shoe brands of all time is hitting the big screen next week.

"Air" tells the story of how Nike signed basketball legend Michael Jordan and revolutionized the industry.

One of the men who made the deal possible has ties to the Valley. 

Mike "Sonny" Vaccaro, who's played by Matt Damon in the film, isn't a stranger to Youngstown. He once played football for what was Youngstown University and graduated in 1962.

"Sonny Vacarro would be right up at the top of the list if you looked at our most successful alumni," Youngstown State University Foundation President Paul McFadden said. Vaccaro has been one of the top donors to YSU for years. 

During a private showing with a select group of members from YSU at Golden Star Theatre in Austintown on Thursday, Vacarro said he looks back on Youngstown as the place that gave him a chance.

"Youngstown and YSU were a stop in my journey through my life. Dike Beede, Dom Roselli and the people at YSU gave a scholarship to a kid who never played football," Vaccaro said. "This movie is talking about a story that changed the world of marketing and changed people's lives with Michael Jordan and his family."

Vaccaro said the movie is closely similar to real-life events. "The movie was fairly accurate but I'm one of the few people from the 9 people in the film is based on, still alive. We're now depending on us 4 or 5 people trying to put together a memory. Watching the movie, never being involved with the script, things are really accurate."

"They're wonderful supporters, very proud of their Youngstown roots, and made this sneak peek available tonight," McFadden said of Vaccaro.

Vaccaro, now 83 years young, recently created his own endowed scholarship with his wife, Pam in memory of her sister that provides college opportunities to underprivileged kids at Youngstown State.

"They can do it. They can do not so much what Sonny Vaccaro did, but they can do what they feel like they want to do. Don't quit it," Vaccaro said emotionally while reflecting on his time in Youngstown.

The scholarship is a nod to those who gave him a chance. "If a kid like me, whose parents were immigrants, watch members of their family get sent to war, it is better for students now. It's hard in modern society but the opportunity is there at Youngstown State University. I doesnt matter what color you are or what beliefs you have, it only matters what you can do."

"You don't spend 83 years thinking this is going to happen. It was a shoe and now it's being remembered forever," Vaccaro said. "If there is a memory of everything I've done in my life, it'll include situations like this, talking to 21 WFMJ, representing Youngstown, and showing the movie early Thursday evening. It means so much to me."

Vaccaro said one of his biggest honors is staying in touch with Michael Jordan's family and being able to meet the cast and crew of the film. He said Jordan's mother recently wished him well. 

"It's been 25 years since I've seen Mrs. Jordan, she remembered me and that made everything all worth it." Vaccaro said. 

"Air" will premiere in theaters on April 5.