2014 was an epic year for sports — from top-flight winter competition to football’s greatest tournament, major athletic moments fueled conversation and rallied athletes of all ages in all countries. Through film, Nike celebrates the emotion of sport and inspires athletes to defy convention. Here, a look at 10 videos that got people talking.
Produced in advance of 2014's Winter of Sport, the "Play Russian" Just Do It campaign celebrates athletes who defy cold weather. The film features Russian Nike athletes — ice hockey player Alexander Ovechkin, footballer Alexander Kokorin, snowboarder Denis Leontyev, and figure skater Adelina Sotnikova — showing that winter can be a playground despite forbidding conditions. The film debuted in Russia and became a seasonal rallying cry.
Released: Nov. 28, 2013
Play in the Now
To announce the game-changing VRS covert drivers, Nike Golf took a tongue-in-cheek jab at steeped-in-tradition golfers skeptical of new technology. “Play in the Now” covers crusty old-timers through the ages — tracing progression in club design from wood to steel, ultimately amplifying Nike’s story of innovation.
Released: Jan. 15, 2014
Make Every Yard Count
Lack of space in a country of billions doesn’t keep India’s cricketers from playing the game they love in “Make Every Yard Count.” To create Nike India’s first crowd-sourced advertisement, the team solicited images of cricket fans and players demonstrating their passion for the sport. Of the 225,000 images received via Nike Cricket Facebook and Twitter accounts, 1,440 were chosen for inclusion in the final ad — a story that follows the flow of the game across India’s diverse landscape. Bowlers deliver balls to numerous batsmen, each hit igniting activity between the stumps and in the outfield.
Released: March 28, 2014
In sport, there is no reward without risk. Ahead of the summer’s action in Brasil, Nike Football released “Winner Stays,” the second of the three-part Risk Everything Football Campaign. The film taps into a passion for the game shared across all levels of competition.
Beginning in a local park, the action swells as two teams play for rights to the field. One says “Guess I’m Cristiano Ronaldo then,” his opponent quickly responding “Yeah? Well I’m Neymar.” Suddenly, the stakes are raised as the young athletes take on the traits of (and mutate into) their footballing heroes. Play culminates when the only youngster who hasn’t transformed steps to the penalty spot; if he scores, his team stays.
Released: April 25, 2014
The final film in the Risk Everything Football Campaign, “Last Game” advances the thought that daring football should be the only type of football. The animated short finds the world’s greatest footballers engaged in a contest to save the sport from a villainous plot to eliminate risk-taking. Without their acrobatics and wizardry, football faces a dull demise.
“Last Game” reminds that the glory of sport comes not from strict efficiency, but in unexpected acts of brilliance. The audacious creativity of the most skilled athletes inspires all to believe in their potential, illustrating the downside of playing it safe.
Released: June 9, 2014
Crowning the greatest basketball player of all-time is a debate for the ages. But naming the best player right now? Just call him “the baddest.” Following Kevin Durant’s MVP season, during which he recorded his fourth scoring title and led his team, Nike celebrated the launch of the KD7 with a campaign honoring his elite status. Legendary basketball players Charles Oakley and George “Iceman” Gervin, alongside comedian and activist Dick Gregory, extol Durant’s virtues — confidence, leadership and versatility — reminding that he inspires fear in opponents and awe in onlookers.
Released: June 25, 2014
In "RE2PECT," Jordan Brand plays tribute to the grand tradition of the hat tip — a non-verbal mark of recognition dating back to the 19th-century — with fans of all stripes expressing gratitude to Derek Jeter during his 20th and final season in the big leagues.
The first Jordan Brand-endorsed baseball athlete, Derek Jeter had 12 signature cleats and training shoes during his 15-year relationship with the brand. His influence pushed baseball off the field too: Jeter's desire to perform at the highest level transformed how the sport’s best athletes prepared for each season. Through his drive, the Captain gained the respect of the Big Apple, his peers, and even those vehemently opposed to his success. Each of those is represented in the film (and a few celebrity surprises too).
Released: July 14, 2014
Equipped with lightening speed and surefire scoring instinct, Brasilian star footballer Neymar deceives opponents with an otherworldly agility. Ahead of the club season, Nike Football interprets his game-changing attacking skill in a short film featuring the latest colorway of his Hypervenom boots. There’s magic to his approach: At times, his trickery makes it seem as if defenders are dealing with multiple Neymars in a topsy-turvy house of mirrors. Until the bona fide Neymar breaks through to score.
Released: Aug. 19, 2014
Nike: Just Do It
Nike’s first Just Do It film for South Korea addresses the nation’s trend toward physical inactivity among kids. Research shows that today’s youth in South Korea are the least active generation in the world. Studies also indicate that activity promotes academic achievement, leadership and creativity. The 60-second spot was designed to ignite interest in youth sports and build momentum for October’s Nike Festival of Sports and We Run Seoul 10Kk and 21k races. The film features Korean football legend Ji-Sung Park, rising tennis phenom Duck-Hee Lee, K-Pop superstar Taeyang from the group BIG BANG and various South Korean youth, communicating the powerful message of daring to play anywhere, anytime.
Released: Sept. 4, 2014
LeBron James Together
Welcoming LeBron James back to his native Ohio, “Together” highlights the power of sport to unit communities. Before tip-off, the citizens of Cleveland, in a powerful show of solidarity, join James and his teammates. The film features cameos from James’s mother, Gloria; and childhood coach, Dru Joyce. Teammates Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters also appear. James, galvanizing his region, becomes part of a shared goal that transcends any personal accomplishment.
Released: Oct. 30, 2014