No matter your opinion on Nike and W+K’s “Rise” spot featuring Lebron James, you more than likely had some sort of reaction to it. The ad was interesting enough, or at least quotable enough, to spawn a wealth of parodies including South Park’s own shot at Lebron’s “excuses.” In fact, when the series’ anti-hero Eric Cartman tries to use the “What should I do” rhetoric on his superhero friends, they simply respond, “You should fuck off.” Ouch.
When LeBron James skipped college to join the NBA, many were skeptical if someone being touted as the “greatest ever” should skip an NCAA basketball career. After all, Michael Jordan went to college, and ended up winning the University of North Carolina an NCAA title while he was there. As James quickly became one of the NBA’s elite players, the comparisons to Jordan kept coming, which James embraced by getting “Chosen One” tattooed on his back. Of course, when after years of failure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James opted to join the Miami Heat’s new “super team” as opposed to sticking it out with his old team, the comparisons turned into sharp criticisms.
History tells us that James’ move was the exact opposite of his hero’s. While Jordan’s Bulls suffered years of playoff losses at the hands of the Detroit Pistons, Jordan didn’t join a “super team” with friends Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. Instead, he stuck it out with the team that drafted him, netting six NBA championships in the process. Jordan’s own brand couldn’t create an ad like this taking on their parent company Nike, though Jordan has spoken out against James in the press. But, this remix with an older Jordan brand commercial works well enough, and you can visualize #23 speaking directly to the former #23 in the closing lines, “Maybe, I destroyed the game. Or, maybe you’re just making excuses.” Game: Jordan.