Tomorrow Is Here Today.
In Oregon, Nike stands tall. It is the top one of two Fortune 500 companies in the state.
As the richest apparel company on the entire list of five hundred, Nike continues to raise the bar and jump over it.
Call it the Fosbury Flop of marketing genius and sports innovation.
How else can you explain the connection with the two-guard from the Chicago Bulls that keeps defining a winning attitude?
If Michael Jordan is the King of Nike, he’s about to take a header into the stands.
King James is ready.
The coronation began in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Call it a stretch if you must, but if you’ve watched sports as long as the average Baby Boomer, you can see it coming.
LeBron did something last night that all the greats do at some point in their career, though most of them do it earlier. They panic. It usually happens in high school, or college, but since LeBron skipped college, he has to do it in front of millions of eyes glued to their flat screens.
While the Spurs seemed to leave the Heat in their wake, LeBron saw his moment slipping away. First it was the game, then his headband. Those of us old enough to panic in our ordinary lives have seen the LeBron expression in the mirror. It says, “What did I do to deserve this? What can I do to change the outcome? Would crying help?”
The Heat’s second title in three years was slipping away, and not to some hot shot team on a run of the ages. Instead, it was the veteran Spurs, the same team that took James’ Cavaliers to the woodshed in 2007, ground them into sawdust, and swept them out of the building. The same Big 3 in San Antonio today worked the broom then.
This time, LeBron did what a champion does. He stripped down to the bare essentials. Instead of stopping the game for a new headband, instead of pleading with the refs, he knuckled down and delivered like Octo-Mom. He pushed and pushed, the pushed some more.
He did it for himself, his teammates, Miami, and Nike. If he wore a Nike Fuel Headband, the constant feedback would have welded it to his head. Imagine that high tech read out.
LeBron shoots and misses from the arc. Headband says, “Drive, Bron, Drive.”
LeBron’s rebound gets kicked back out to him and he shoots and scores. Headband says, “Well played.”
LeBron defends and blocks. Headband says, “Play on, big fella.”
The fourth quarter of Game 6 spoke to all the doubters who tried to translate LeBron’s name into French as The Quitter, as The Surrenderer, as The Run and Hider. For three quarters he played his game.
For the last one he played basketball for history fans, who when they get older will get the question, “Where were you when LeBron The Magnificent went off against the Spurs.”
What will you say? I know what I’ll say. “I watched a man step outside himself, outside of sport, and show what it means to lose what is most valuable, only to get it back the best way, the only way, you can. He willed himself on his teammates, his opponents, everyone in the arena, and those watching at home.”
And the headband said, “How about everyone who gave up on you, ‘Bron? Where are they now? Outside the building trying to get in. They want to feel what you feel, what I feel.”
You made believers out of all of us LeBron. Win or lose in the last game of the 2013 Finals, you’ve got more game than anyone imagined. It was an honor to witness it.
Now it’s not enough to Be Like Mike. You have to Get It On Like LeBron.