Life – or, more accurately, Andre Iguodala – handed LeBron James lemons. Nike turned them into lemonade.
By just about every conceivable measure, James' first season back in Cleveland was a rousing success…minus the triumphant final act. But despite falling short in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, the King carried a team missing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to two victories – after every living soul in the world wrote them off. They pushed a historically great squad to the brink, and had hard-luck fans in Cleveland believing that this really could be their year.
To commemorate James' valiant effort, Nike has taken out a full-page ad in Cleveland's Plain Dealer, one that chronicles the Cavs' 2014-15 season with a slight twist: Instead of the Cavaliers falling in six games, they defy the odds with a little help from the basketball gods and win the NBA championship in seven. However, that's just their way of reminding us that this isn't Hollywood – it's Cleveland, where apparently everything is earned.
And while that sentiment doesn't make the loss sting any less, we suppose it's a pretty cool spread that may fill Cavaliers fans with optimism.
New Nike LeBron ad pic.twitter.com/p5Of0avA1u— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 21, 2015
The font is on the small side, so here's the full text:
Imagine if LeBron came home to Cleveland.
Imagine if the team struggled early but finished the regular season strong.
Imagine if their big man went down, but they still found a way to power through the Eastern Conference.
Imagine if they faced the top seed in the Finals.
Imagine if they pushed Game 1 to overtime but lost another star to injury.
Imagine if everyone counted them out.
Imagine if they shocked the world and took the next two games.
Imagine if fatigue caught up with them, and they lost Games 4 and 5.
Imagine if they defied odds, logic and the basketball gods to come back and win the series in 7.
Except this isn't Hollywood. It's Cleveland.
Nothing is given. Everything is earned.
Just do it.
Shockingly, it turns out that some people – read: Miami Heat fans – aren't taking the ad too well. "Cheesy" might be the word used. Nevertheless, it's worth remembering that this is LeBron's world and we're all just living in it. What did people expect Nike to do in the final days of June, anyways? Something on Tiger Woods?