Nike’s ‘Flight of Defiance’ film highlights Michael Jordan’s visit with Brixton Topcats coach Jimmy Rogers in London

Jordan Brand is continuing its commitment to “purposefully acknowledge the global impact of Black Culture.” After announcing last year that the brand would be donating $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education, M.J. and company are shining the spotlight on communities across the word.

As Black History month begins in the UK, Nike has released a new short film about Jordan’s visit to London to train with the Brixton Topcats. Legend has it, Jordan — who was fresh off winning the Rookie of The Year award — was invited to visit London in August 1985 by legendary youth coach Jimmy Rogers. M.J. accepted the invitation and ended up training at the Brixton Recreation Centre with Rogers’ Topcats. The film, which was directed by Sekou Abineri, delves into that story, while focusing on the Black British experience.

According to the Brixton Topcats’ website, the man who built the organization devoted himself to building programs focused on the progression of youth. “His mission was to advance the education of young persons resident in Brixton (and surrounding areas) through physical recreation, developing players’ self-worth, pride and esteem,” the site reads. “Jimmy was insistent on never turning young people away, working with whoever walked through our doors. Through his dedication to improving the lives of young people, Jimmy’s reach extended beyond the boundaries of class, ethnicity or background – his advice and spirit stays strong in the hearts of thousands of players and alumni he touched.”

“Informally dubbed ‘The Bishop of Brixton’ by locals, Jimmy’s tireless commitment to his community mirrors Brixton’s wider radical history of protest and uprisings against racism, police intervention and political exclusion, and the DIY spirit in Black British culture,” Jordan Brand stated in the caption. “Now a new generation, still inspired by Jimmy’s community work, are uncovering new forms of excellence.”

A mural, created by visual artist Dreph, honoring Rogers and his work with the Topcats was unveiled last week on Electric Lane — across from Brixton Recreation Centre. The renowned coach passed away in 2018 after a battle with cancer.

Check out the short film Flight of Defiance below:

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