LeBron James completes all aspects of a triathlon in his latest Nike advertisement, which casts the Heat forward as a Pied Piper inspiring the children of Miami to take part in an intense daily offseason exercise routine.
Dubbed "Training Day," the minute-plus long spot opens at the front gate of James' home, as he hops on his bike and asks a small group of children whether they're ready to go. As the ad progresses, the group following James gets larger and larger, and the growing mass of people takes a tour through Miami. The four-time MVP briefly ditches the bike for some sprinting on the beach and some freestyle swimming in Biscayne Bay before he pulls up to the American Airlines Arena , where security stops the throng from joining James in the Heat's practice gym.
After some court work, shooting and some push-ups in silence, James re-emerges, leading the group to a pick-up court, where he challenges some kids, throwing down a dunk and handing out a pair of his sneakers. The spot closes with some light jogging home, where James bids goodbye to his fans. "Cool, guys, tomorrow?" he says, as he calls it a day.
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Recent commercials from James -- including one where he participates in a Dunk Contest -- haven't always hit the mark, but this one succeeds by believably casting James as both a populist and a workaholic in a safe but tidy package. Even if this ad's plot stretches reality in its grandeur, the scenes are familiar, and they never seem impossible.
The perceived authenticity derives from real life inspiration, as James has ridden his bike to games and sponsors an annual charity Bikeathon in Ohio. Of course, his offseason dedication has been well-documented; not only has James trained with the likes of Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade, this summer he even dragged a utility vehicle as part of one workout.
James discussed the spot in an interview with the Associated Press.
''So much fun, man,'' James said. ''The message is obvious. 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.''
''They allow me to have a lot of input on the spots that come out and they're basically geared to who I am and what I do on a day-to-day basis,'' James said. ''It was great to put that together.''
Showcased in the spot are the "LeBron 11s," the latest version of James' signature Nike sneakers which were unveiled in August.
The Heat begin their pursuit of a three-peat by hosting the Bulls at the American Airlines Arena in their regular season opener on Tuesday.
Video via YouTube user NikeBasketball | Hat tip: @HeidiBurgett