Nike and LeBron James Open the NBA Season With a Toast to Underdogs

A salute to the ones who ‘weren’t supposed to be here’

The Cleveland Cavaliers opened the 2016 NBA season with a victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.

LeBron James scored a triple double for the league’s defending champions, but he was more focused on the underdogs in Nike’s latest campaign from Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., which debuted the same night.

The Cavs came from behind to win the championship last year. And while James has been a household name for some time, his narration in this campaign celebrates those players who followed the same unlikely path. These are the aspiring stars who weren’t “supposed” to escape their neighborhoods, beat the odds and go pro, no matter how many coaches told them they had potential.

They all happen to be wearing James’ number 23.

James’ cameo at the end serves as both the conclusion of the narrative and a reminder that pro hoops will be just as unpredictably thrilling this year as it was last year.

He’s not the only NBA star who came “out of nowhere.” In addition to the anthem spot, the campaign includes out-of-home executions celebrating the individual styles of other players who were never supposed to be big, like┬áKevin Durant, Paul George and the 5-foot-9 dynamo Isaiah Thomas. These OOH pieces will appear as posters and larger-than-life projections in each player’s market. (Check out some of executions below.)

The “Come Out of Nowhere” campaign will run through the first two weeks of the season.

Article Written by Patrick Coffee of Ad Week