Speaking to The Boombox
, Kelly revealed his creative process for this song: "When I met Michael Jordan on a basketball court at an athletic club — we hooped together in Chicago — he came to me and asked me if I wanted to do a song for his upcoming movie. I was like, 'Yeah!' I didn't even ask what it was. [Eventually] he let me know what it was, we went to a screening to watch it and that's when I ended up coming up with 'I Believe I Can Fly.' I knew from the first melody that was gonna be the song that was gonna take me out of R&B and into another genre of music."
Kelly added that the Notorious B.I.G. came around while he was writing the song and immediately saw its hit potential. "I was in a hotel in a deep sleep, so I kinda dreamt that melody," he recalled. "I went down to the lobby and had the security unlock the piano because it was locked. I started messing around with three-finger chords to give myself a guide with the melody. And I started hearing… [hums the melody of 'I Believe I Can Fly']. I had a lot of 'duh duh duhs' before I actually wrote what it is. But after spending two hours at that piano, watching a whole 'lotta women and men coming in back and forth, I was over in that corner on that piano. By the time Biggie came in [the hotel] it was like two hours later, I had [begins singing] 'I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, I think about it every night and day, spread my wings and fly away' — I had about that much. He was like, 'Oh, B, that's a big hit, son.' And it ended up being exactly that."