Just in case you weren’t aware, LeBron James loves Cleveland.
That’s been the defining narrative of the NBA offseason, beginning with his “I’m Coming Home” Sports Illustrated spread and carrying right through this week’s tip-off of the 2014-15 campaign, which finds the LeBron-ified Cavs as the league’s presumptive title favorites. So naturally, there’s a Nike commercial to go along with it.
It’s called “Together,” and it features James, his new Cavalier teammates and essentially the entire city of Cleveland huddling up to celebrate the Homecoming King’s first game at Quicken Loans Arena – which just so happens to be Thursday night.
“Every single night, every single practice, every single game we gotta give it everything we got, because they’re gonna ride with us,” James booms to his team. “Everything we do on this floor is because of this city. We owe them”
He then leads the Cavs in a chant of “Hard work, together” as music begins to build. Soon Clevelanders of all shapes, sizes and colors are joining in, converging in alleyways and intersections, arms thrust aloft. Depending on your level of cynicism, the new ad can either be seen as uplifting and emotional – the prodigal son returns to lift a fallen city on his broad shoulders – or convenient and manipulative, since LBJ’s new LeBron 12 sneakers are prominently featured (to say nothing of the fact he once crushed the very same city by announcing his intent to “take [his] talents to South Beach” on live television).
Either way, good for Cleveland. It’s been a while since they’ve had something to cheer about.