Despite all his successes, LeBron James has been down before. Back in 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers were down three games to one to the Golden State Warriors in the best-of-seven NBA Finals. But with a 93-89 win in Oakland, the Cavs not only won the city’s first sports title in 52 years, they also became the first team to ever win it all after being down 3-1 in the Finals.
Now in a new Nike ad, James delivers a pep talk to the world, using that comeback and similar against-all-odds battles of such stars as Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, and the New England Patriots’ 2017 Super Bowl win as an analogy for how the world is dealing with the pandemic. This is a tough time, and it’s very easy to feel beat down.
But while this health emergency is no game, we can use sports as an inspiration to hold our nerve and continue to push through.
In a statement, James said the whole world is fighting for something bigger than a championship right now. “People are struggling and this continues to be an incredibly difficult time,” said James. “For me, thinking forward to a time when we’ll be able to play again, it keeps me going. Even if basketball looks different for a while, I’m excited about the possibility of getting back in the game because I know how inspiring and powerful sports can be. I think the lessons we learn from sport can inspire us all.”
This isn’t Nike’s first pandemic-related ad. Back in mid-March, as social distancing and stay-at-home orders were first (finally) being enforced, the brand put out a simple tweet that aimed to put individual discipline and action into a global perspective.
— Nike (@Nike) March 21, 2020
Then in April, the brand posted a new ad featuring a laundry list of its sponsored athletes working out at home. That spot complemented moves that the company was making to its own digital products, using its Nike, Running Club, and Nike Training Club apps as well as its social channels and more to serve up tools and motivation to help people stay active, including things like weekly YouTube workouts and making its premium Nike Training Club app content free in the United States.
This month, the brand has reopened almost all of its retail stores in China and South Korea, and it’s begun opening doors across 15 other countries, including the United States.