As Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers head into their fourth straight NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Nike and director Hiro Murai, the now famed director of Donald Glover’s Atlanta and music video This Is America, take us back to James’ younger years.
Even then he knew exactly who he was and what his goals were as he asks a tattoo artist to ink “Chosen 1” across his back. In real life, James got that tattoo in August 2002, when he was just a junior in high school, after being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated on Februrary 18, 2002, and tagged as such.
James signed with Nike in 2003 for what is rumored to be a $1 billion lifetime deal.
“I was worried, that we were going to ruin the kid’s life by putting him on the cover,” SI writer Grant Wahl, who wrote the cover story on James, told Jesse Washington of The Undefeated back in 2017. “It’s one thing to do a feature on somebody inside the mag. But when you put a young kid on the cover and proclaim him ‘The Chosen One’ – maybe ‘ruin his life’ is a little strong, but it took things to such a level that I felt like his life was not going to be the same after that. The pressure would get a lot higher.”
Pressure has only seemed to make James better, as he practically single-handedly brought the Cavs back to the finals after a stunning Game 7 in which he scored 35 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists. He joins Boston Celtics Bill Russell, Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn and Frank Ramsey as the only NBA players to play in at least eight consecutive NBA finals.
Maybe he really is the Chosen One.
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Director: Hiro Murai