Nike’s Joyful Season-Opening NBA Ad Has Some Seriously Sweet Moves

W+K spot is set to Public Enemy's 'Shut 'Em Down'

Headshot of Tim Nudd

The world’s top sports stars are visually phenomenal, so their ads should be, too. Nike has always embodied this belief, with the best example being 2008’s “Take It to the Next Level” soccer spot directed by Guy Ritchie, still one of the most visually stunning commercials ever made.

Nike’s latest spot, heralding the new NBA season, which tips off tonight, has some great moves, too—with director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious) and cinematographer Roman Vasyanov (Suicide Squad) teaming up for brilliant visuals on their way to telling the story of a young baller who dreams of making it to the big time.

The story is routine but relatable: A young basketball player, Donte Grand, dreams of going from the neighborhood court to the NBA court. But it’s told in ebullient style, beginning with the spot’s first great visual—the two courts juxtaposed on each other. The kid is literally visualizing his dream.

After some silent seconds of contemplation, Donte begins his journey, as the Public Enemy track “Shut ‘Em Down” kicks in.

The rest of the way, we get a time-lapse look at Donte’s evolution, from lonely workouts as a youngster to college star (he goes to Duke, and drains a game-winner) to NBA signing day to teaming with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers and facing off against Kevin Durant’s Golden State Warriors. (He also studies video of Thunder star Paul George, another Nike endorser.)

The two-minute spot, titled “Want It All,” has echoes of Nike’s “Short a Guy” spot from 2015, while also using the kind of heightened jump-narrative made famous in spots like “Write the Future.” In all, it’s a throughly enjoyable start to the season for Nike and a few of its star athletes.

“Want It All” makes its broadcast premiere tonight during the NBA’s opening night Celtics vs. Cavaliers game.

Client: Nike

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors Alberto Ponte, Ryan O’Rourke
Copywriter Josh Bodgan
Art Director Pedro Izique
Integrated Production Director Matt Hunnicutt
Integrated Production Director Krystle Mortimore
Senior Integrated Producer Jake Grand
Production Assistant Candice Harbour
Production Assistant Shani Storey
Account Director Chris Willingham
Account Supervisor Erik Wade
Account Executive Tobin Kittoe
Account Executive Chuck Xu
Business Affairs Manager Dusty Slowik
Lead Business Affairs Manager Laura Caldwell
Designer Deb Lee
Creative Manager Emily Norman
Brand Strategy Director Nathan Goldberg
Brand Strategist Reid Schilperoort
Associate Communications Planning Director John Furnari
Media Supervisor Emily Graham
Associate Comms Planner Anthony Holton
Traffic Supervisor Tim Bell
Traffic Manager Maggie Harasyn

Production Company Radical Media and Fenix Studios
Director F. Gary Gray
Executive Producer Donna Portaro
Line Producer Barbara Benson
Director of Photography Roman Vasyanov

Editorial Company Rock Paper Scissors
Managing Director Linda Carlson
Executive Producer Raná Martin
Editor Angus Wall
Assistant Editor Lauren Dellara
Producer Sasha Grubor

VFX Company: The Mill
Executive Producer: Anastasia von Rahl
Producer: Karina Slater
Production Coordinator: Jake Fritz
Shoot Supervisor: John Shirley
Creative Director: Robert Sethi / John Shirley
2D Lead Artist: John Shirley
3D Lead Artist: Chris Bayol
Crowd Lead Artist: Dan Warom
2D Artists: Ben Smith / Chris Knight / Dag Ivarsoy / Daniel Lang / Daniel Thuresson / Greg VanZyl / James Allen / Jeff Langlois / Lisa Ryan / Peter Sidoriak / Remedy Huynh / Sam Evenson / Timothy Crabtree / Tom Van Dop / Chris Hunsberger / Robin McGloin / Sven Dreesbach
3D Artists: Chris Goodrich / Eugene Gauran / Freddy Parra / Juan Salazar / Matt Bohnert / Matthew Fuller / Monique Espinoza / Samantha Pedregon / Sharlene Lin / Shaun Comly / Sophie Pince / Tom Graham / Ziming Liu / Anthony Thomas / Rie Ito
Tracking: Michael Lori / Danny Garcia / Chase Webb / Katie Yancey / Jason
Jansky / Alice Panek / Steven Olson / Michael Archambault
Matte Painting: Gillian George
Design: James Vogel

Music Company Human
Arranger Gareth Williams
Creative Lead Craig DeLeon
Producer Kamela Anderson
Song (if applicable) “Shut ‘Em Up”

Sound Company Lime Studios
LSD Sound Designer Michael Anastasi
Sound Designer Zac Fisher
Audio Assistant Kevin McAlpine
Executive Producer Susie Boyajan

Mix Company Lime Studios
Mixer Zac Fisher
Executive Producer Susie Boyajan

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.