Nike’s LeBron ‘Training Day’ Explores Star/Fan Dynamic

As the new NBA season really kicks in to gear, Nike Basketball is rolling out its new LeBron James fronted campaign called ‘Training Day’.


With a major focus on LeBron’s team’s community and fanbase, the initiative is led by a short video featuring the NBA’s biggest super star going through his daily training regime accompanied by various Miami locals.


From biking through the city’s streets, swimming in the ocean, training in the Miami Heat’s home stadium and shooting street hoops, James not only works on his own new season fitness levels but also inspires everyone else in Miami to get active.


The 90-second Nike spot, developed with Wieden + Kennedy (Portland), is accompanied by Mike WiLL (on the track ‘My Shoes’) and John Legend (who wrote the ad’s musical score).


The commercial is airing nationally across the USA throughout November on network TV, plus on entertainment and sports channels.



The creative, which carries the campaign’s #striveforgreatness hashtag, leverages the start of the new season and focuses on both the general Nike Basketball offering as well as his new signature shoe the new Nike LeBron 11 (this season being the player’s 11th year in pro basketball).


Indeed, in the creative James wears the ‘Miami Heat Away’ colourway of his shoes when in the gym by himself, and the ‘King’s Pride’ version on the playground.


The hastag is one of the drivers pointing viewers to the campaign’s online component where they can both view and interact the full campaign and product range at www.Nike.com/LeBron.


The campaign also includes more traditional, still images, print ads and outdoor work.


‘The message is obvious,’ says four-time league MVP James. ‘I want people to feel like they’re at one with me, and I had a lot of fun shooting it all over Miami, and to have all those kids, it was great.’




Nike’s work moves beyond the usual ‘what it takes to be a champion’ approach and links this to LeBron’s role as someone capable of transforming the lives of individuals and fans by inspiring Miami locals whenever he is around.


The creative not only aims to generate an epic, feel-good aura, but also manages to remain somewhat intimate (despite the huge cast).


James doesn’t try and avoid the attention of the crowds and fans. He is depicted as comfortable with the attention.


Indeed, this is a campaign that partially explores our relationships to modern-day sports heroes. It reflects the intensification of the fan/star dynamic in this multi-screen age were consumers (and sponsors) demand more interaction than ever with the stars (and ambassadors).


It speaks to the place of big-time sports and superstar athletes in a media-saturated world.


Which may prove knowingly affective, as reigning MVP James is currently splashed widely across US media spaces as the new season opens. In addition to his work for Nike, he is also currently featuring in initiatives by the NBA itself, as well as working as an ambassador for NBA sponsors such as Samsung.




Nike ‘Strive For Greatness’ Website



Nike ‘LeBron James’ Website



NBA Homepage




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