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New Nike flashback celebrates LeBron’s eighth NBA Finals in a row

New Nike flashback celebrates LeBron’s eighth NBA Finals in a row

What: A new Nike ad that dramatizes the origins of LeBron’s “Chosen 1” tattoo to celebrate his eighth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.

Who: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy Portland, Hiro Murai.

Why we care: It’s a remarkable feat. Of course, you could say that about LeBron James’ entire career, but specifically this year, throwing the Cleveland Cavaliers on his back and almost literally carrying them into the NBA Finals. As much as critics may have rolled their eyes at Nike propaganda machine, “Witness” and all that, LeBron has been playing at such an elevated level this year that none of it can be dismissed as hyperbole. He’s lived up to every single word. And so perhaps it’s appropriate that Nike chose to flash back to a moment of bold confidence in LeBron’s past, to illustrate the resolve, work ethic, and sheer determination that got him to where he is. What teenager actually anoints himself as a “Chosen 1” in the arrogance of youth, but then can actually live up to it? At least in the hoops world, that may be a list of one.

Directed by Hiro Murai, the celebrated lensman of Donald Glover’s acclaimed series Atlanta, the ad uses mystery and off-camera intrigue to great effect, and perhaps the only downside is that, at just under a minute, it actually feels a bit rushed, cut short, leaving the viewer wanting more (or at least a 90-second version). Maybe that’s the point.

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