Nike Goes Political and Emotional with Basketball Viral

As the NBA lockout drags on, the existence of a 2011-12 season is coming into question. It’s a scary time for basketball fans — will there even be a functional NBA by the time the dust settles?

Nike has taken an interesting approach to the proceedings, though, with an ad that sends a strong statement to the NBA that it isn’t really needed. That might not be the intended message, but it seems clear: Basketball never stops, as long as you have players and a court. And sponsors, I suppose. Where is the NBA in all of that?

As cynical as that might sound, the ad is beautifully crafted. Even as someone with no interest in the sport, I was swept up by the emotions, the nostalgic view and hopefulness of this ad.

Will Nike focus its sponsorship dollars in the college circuit this year? And what will the players do? In some ways, this ad makes those questions irrelevant — because whatever happens, basketball never stops.

Folks who like that message are taking Nike’s cues to spread the message on Twitter and Facebook, too, never mind the 2 million or so views on YouTube. The company has released the video under a Creative Commons license, freeing fans to remix, spread and share it at will. And that’s how you turn an ad into a semi-political statement, right there.

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