Nike celebrates Lakers' 17th NBA Championship with bittersweet ad of loss and triumph

Spot from Wieden + Kennedy embraces the backdrop of struggle country has endured over the last year

Published On
Oct 12, 2020

Editor's Pick

Last night, the Los Angeles Lakers clinched their 17th NBA Championship—a bright spot in a year of extreme upheaval from the coronavirus pandemic and the racial injustice that continues to plague the country. Nike and Wieden + Kennedy weave those struggles into a new spot celebrating the Lakers’ win. 

It juxtaposes success and loss over the past season—we see Anthony Davis joining from the Pelicans last year—leading to his formidable pairing with LeBron James (and continuing the legacy of the franchise's legendary duos like Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal). We see missteps and wins on the court. LeBron’s reverse dunk. Three-pointers. But also woven in are scenes of hardship imposed by the world out there—COVID testing, masks, NBA players standing up for Black Live Matter. 

A voiceover, set against a soulful piano track, narrates the ups and downs. 

This season, we won. But, we lost. But we won. But we lost so much. Then we won. But we lost. We lost again. But we won! We won again! Then we won again! And because we lost so much, this win, means so much more. 

Coupling the good and bad serves to underscore the beauty of the triumph. Curiously missing from the story, however, is arguably one of the team’s most devastating losses in history, the passing of Lakers vet Bryant and his daughter Gianna in January. 

Fans in the comments of the spot’s social posts, however, bring the late NBA great back in, with messages like “This is for you Kobe Bryant, RIP” and “This great sadness that I've been going through since Kobe and Gigi's passing, it feels like it's been lifted after the Lakers won the championship tonight. I'm so proud of this team. You guys did it!”