If you didn’t slam your remote down in anger and whip a Draymond Green-esque kick at your TV screen after Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors bested LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to secure the franchise’s second championship in three years, you probably saw this Nike ad that ran during the first commercial break following the series’ final buzzer.
— Nike (@Nike) June 13, 2017
Here’s a translation of that ad, called “Debate This,” for anyone who doesn’t speak desperation: “It doesn’t matter that I joined up with possibly the best team ever which beat me in embarrassing fashion the year before because I have a ring now, right? Right? Please like me and forget the circumstances of my championship victory.”
The biggest problem with the commercial is that it’s built around a straw man argument—that the NBA world doubted Durant and his ability, that they thought he wasn’t great.
No one thought this
As if anyone thought KD, the 2014 MVP, wasn’t good enough to win a championship—quite the opposite in fact: People were pissed because of course he’s great enough to win a ring, and instead of winning one on the hardwood, he won his with a pen and a piece of paper, months before the 2016-17 NBA season began, making his ring all but a foregone conclusion.
Whether that’s a fair criticism of him or not, here’s all you really need to know about the spot: Durant’s joining a 73-win team that he blew a 3-1 lead to in the conference finals a year earlier is such a bad look, Nike had to launch an ad campaign seconds after the Finals ended to convince you it isn’t.