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Nike Ad Salutes Cleveland Fans Despite NBA Championship Loss

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.

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.”


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