Nike Ad Salutes Cleveland Fans Despite NBA Championship Loss

LeBron James Nike Ad
Nike celebrated the winning spirit of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
Getty Images

Nike was the ultimate good sport over the weekend. The Beaverton, Ore.-based company released a new advertisement to commemorate the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA season.

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.

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The ad debuted on Sunday.

LeBron James Nike Salute

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.”