Despite the return of LeBron James to the team, the Cavaliers fell short in the finals. Nike’s ad, a full page in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reflects on the season — and the hardships of being a sports fan in that city. Cleveland hasn’t won a championship in any major sport since 1964, when the Browns won the NFL title.
“Although Cleveland’s 2014-15 championship pursuit fell short, LeBron’s drive and leadership inspired this Nike salute,” the company said in a statement.
The ad debuted on Sunday.
James’ first season back in Cleveland was by all accounts a success — and the Cavaliers came within two games of being crowned champs.
The team faced considerable obstacles against the Golden State Warriors. Among them: The league’s most valuable player, Stephen Curry. Making the face-off even more challenging, the Cavaliers lost two top players along the way, with both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sustaining season-ending injuries.
The Nike ad, “Earned, Not Given,” acknowledged that even with all the potential for Cleveland’s colorful storylines, a storybook ending isn’t a given: “This isn’t Hollywood. It’s Cleveland.”