The NBA restarted on Thursday and running alongside the games on TNT was a welcome-back ad from longtime sponsor Nike.
It’s not about the shoes.
Instead, in “You Can’t Stop Us,” produced by agency Wieden+Kennedy, two-time World Cup soccer champion and Nike endorser, Megan Rapinoe narrates a spot that poetically roams over the absence of sports and the centerstage placement of social movements, such as Black Lives Matter.
Now iconic footage from seasons past, like that of Nike endorser Colin Kaepernick kneeling on the football field, appears in the 1:30 montage.
“When we’re held back, we’ll go harder and farther,” narrates Rapinoe.
Many of Nike’s powerhouse endorsers star in the spot, including LeBron James, Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rapinoe herself. The athletes appear playing their sport and passionately protesting.
“If we don't fit the sport, we’ll change the sport,” vows Rapinoe.
The spot intersperses glimpses of everyday folk participating in a range of sports. One memorable image is of a woman in a niqab skateboarding down the street. As she skates on one side of the screen, it segues to a man skateboarding holding a rainbow flag.
The segue technique is used repeatedly to universalize the exhilaration of sports. For example, another segue shows a showjumper taking a fence then morphs into a BMX rider taking his bike over a jump.