Time Flies: Nike’s Foresight Into LeBron’s First NBA Game

I have no clue what made me think of it, but last I was reminded of the Nike commercial that came out the night of LeBron’s first ever NBA game. The game was being played in Sacramento that night seven years ago, and in order to help celebrate the launching of this iconic career.

I still remember that night vividly, and I have always loved this commercial and thought it was incredibly well done. Still to this day it’s one of my favorite LeBron commercials.

But in re-watching that commercial last night on YouTube for the first time in seven years, a few funny/interesting things stood out to me. 

First, it’s amazing how young LeBron looks in this video and how different he looks without the signature headbands and tattoos. Right before our eyes he has grown from this thin baby faced rookie into the absolute beast of a man that he is today. That transition had been somewhat lost on me, so looking back at this commercial last night in my sleep depraved state I was just shocked at how much different he looks today.

Second, how about that Cavs roster? I bet this was the first and last time that Nike made a commercial that gave a little face time to Dajuan Wagner and DeSagana Diop. Even Carlos Boozer is looking awfully thin and young. I wonder if some of these guys back then thought LeBron was going to be their gravy trains leading to residual endorsement opportunities due to their increased exposure next to LeBron. But instead most of them would be quickly discarded as the Cavs tried to build their team. Well, and then there’s Boozer, who decided he needed to make sure he not stand to close to LeBron’s supernova. He has since found the relative isolation out of the sight and mind of most NBA followers in Utah. I hope he’s happy there.

Finally, I found it more than a little bizarre watching this commercial that was made before LeBron had played in a single game. My reason for finding this strange isn’t what you think. It’s not some statement on the exploitation of the youth of America or anything as poignant as that. Rather, I found it funny because Nike decided to portray LeBron as just standing there at the top of the key with his teammates all just standing around watching him before he finally makes his move as the shot clock is expiring. Where have we seen that before? Perhaps all along it was Nike who should be blamed for putting this idea in LeBron’s head that this is how he should be running the offense. Either that or maybe Nike has more ability to predict the future than we give them credit for. Or else maybe it was just a stupid, silly commercial…..

  • JK

    As for Boozer… I hope he’s NOT happy where he is. Jerk.

  • Matt#2

    The cheerleader with the pom-poms covering her chest…getting her to move…was that the point?

  • Ryan

    Good work at the end there, I’m sure Mike Browns is amused!

    I think an insteresting part of LeBron’s rooked year was that he was the PG for most of the season. It took the Cavs a long time to finally get a guy in there who could handle the ball so LeBron didn’t have to. I remember Jeff McGinnis being a decent PG but nobody had anything on the Mo Flow.

  • http://www.zfcomics.com dgriff13

    heh, I used this commercial in a video montage I made as a tribute to CLE sports and Lebron, more than a year ago. Watch it here:

  • Jay

    Look how young, and small Lebron looks.


    /Laker Nation’d

  • Du

    Did they have a 45 second shot clock back then???

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com Cleveland Frowns

    Great post, and Jay FTW.

  • buu

    boozer, diop, wagner, and damon wayans…?!?

  • Cool It

    Where are his tats?

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