By Royce Young

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The top 10 Nike commercials ever

Why? Because everybody loves a top 10 list centered around awesome Youtube videos. Well, that and because I just spent two hours on Youtube and I want to have something to show for it. Ever wind up at some random memory and you have to retrace your train of thought to figure out how you arrived there? I got started on these Nike commercials because I searched Adrian Peterson, watched about 16 highlight reels for the 4,000th time and then clicked his "Nike Sparq Training" ad and for some reason this commercial was on the sidebar and that reminded me how awesome some Nike ads are.

Nike makes the best sports commercials. They just do (it). They can be funny, they can be emotional or they can be both. From "Lil' Penny" to "Fate" directed by David Fincher to "Battle", these ads got it all -- awesome music, cool footage, innovative ideas and slick editing. So I spent some major time perusing the Tube and came up with my favorite 10 Nike commercials ever. (Keep in mind, these are MY favorite. Not your favorite.)

10. Pretty much anything with Michael Jordan makes a great commercial. It could be 30 seconds of MJ just dribbling in his underwear with some awesome pulsing beat with a light piano over the top and then you slap, "Become Legendary" and the Jumpman on the end of it and you've got a flippin' sweet commercial.



9. I remember after this commercial, everybody from Lee Trevino to my school's junior high golf team was trying this. It was really the beginning of "Tiger Woods - Advertising Superstar." And no matter how many times you've seen it, there's always one person that still says, "You know he did that in one take?" Yeah, I know. Thanks for telling me for the 200th time.



8. Lance Armstrong has the same marketability of Jordan because anything he does is top drawer. But he has an edge because any commercial he does is softly lined with, "Holy crap, this is inspirational." Beating cancer and then becoming maybe the most dominant athlete on the globe can do that. This commercial wasn't particularly funny or emotional, but it's awesome because the whole time I watch it, I just think about how amazing Lance is. And I think that's the point.



7. "It's gotta be the shoes!" started the Jordan commercial revolution. Well, that and the Micky D's H-O-R-S-E commercial with Larry Legend. My favorite part: "Is it the extra long shorts?" If Spike could have only known basketball shorts would eventually turn into mesh capris.



6. When I was in sixth grade, this commercial ruled the world. Everybody went to school humming, "Bum, buh--buh, bum-bum." I remember watching TV and looking forward to the commercials hoping this one would come on. Admit it - you worked on the heel-kick pass. I know I did. And you also likely made fun of Lisa Leslie doing nothing impressive but being in the video for obvious reasons. I wish Nike would remake this commercial with some of today's stars. That would be awesome.



5. This slot was basically reserved for one of the heart pumping football commercials Nike has. Really, either the aforementioned "Fate" or the Michael Mann directed "Leave Nothing." And Leave Nothing won out pretty much only because of the perfect music selection from Last of the Mohicans. As Shawne Merriman and Steven Jackson tear through opponents, you can picture Daniel Day-Lewis doing the same as he screams through the woods with his hatchet and musket in hand.



4. It debuted before the 2008 Olympics and the first time I saw it I did two things: 1) Went and looked up what song that was playing in it and 2) Rewound my DVR and watched it again. And again. And again. One thing that makes Nike commercials so great is they are so simple, yet so deep. The transition between Lance in a hospital bed to riding with fury with the yellow on gives me instant hot face. And I could watch Jordan kiss the trophy a thousand times.




3. This was the best thing to come out of this year's "Redeem Team." Well, other than the actual redemption and that whole gold medal thing.



2. Some could say it kicked the steroids era into a new gear. Not only only do chicks dig the long ball, but general managers do too. I crack up every time when Greg Maddux says, "Hey, we got Cy Young winners over here!" And the fact the Mad Dog is wearing glasses.



1. You know a commercial is great when it gives you the chill and then gives you the hot face, followed by the welling eyes and the hard swallow. This commercial did it all. The fact that it debuted on Father's Day weekend during the U.S. Open where Tiger played on one leg in maybe the greatest performance ever, sealed it as the greatest commercial ever.

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