Give Me the Ball: Drawing Inspiration From Nike’s Latest Ad

I have never been gifted with the physicality needed to play basketball well. I was once the tallest girl in my class (in fourth grade, I was 4-foot-11), but then I basically stopped growing and am now often the person you can’t see in pictures because I’m so short. I once thought I was a good defender, but that was back in eighth grade when I was on the worst team in the worst league in my PE class, so take that with a grain of salt. I could never get the ball in the basket when shooting around in my cousin’s front yard even though I perfected the “swish” hand motion and the knee bend to get those few extra feet. Even layups were impossible, but that might be because of my horrible hand-eye coordination and lack of depth perception.

Basically, I was never good at basketball and never hoped to be. So I stuck to soccer and tennis and rowing (as a coxswain) — things that didn’t really require height or too much upper-body strength.

But this Nike video shatters everything I have ever thought about myself and my future.

When the video first started, I was simultaneously amazed (with the kid’s apparent dedication) and cynical (because of how things came so easily to him).

If I just swag out with a pair of Nike high-tops and hire DJ Wordy, anything is possible, right? I’ll just slip on that no. 8 jersey (throwback to Kobe’s championship days!), pick a teammate who’s at least three heads taller than me, and I’m all set. I’ll see the open lane and score some highlight-reel worthy fast-break points, and soon enough, I’ll have my own custom Starter jacket — jk, it’ll probably be a Nike Destroyer jacket because I’m sponsored for just doing it, it being accomplishing my dreams.

Then I’ll win championships and cut down nets, blow off my fans, then — this is where my opinion of the video completely changed — realize that I don’t need the hype, the fame, the intense media fawning that comes with going from a nobody to a SOMEBODY.

I’ll earn it all myself, whether on the court, on the fields, or on a Nike set with Kobe wearing a T-shirt with my face on it.

These last few seconds are true inspiration, and I am inspired.

I will now brb while I drive over to the Lyon Center and practice until my legs fall off. One day I will see my face plastered on Kyrie Irving’s chest, and it will be the greatest thing ever. But first, I’ll need to practice day after day after day … without all the bright camera flashes. (Though a Nike sponsorship would help … )

Patricia Lee (@patricialee91) is a Grantland editorial assistant and has written for the Associated Press, espnW, and the News & Observer.

Filed Under: Kobe Bryant, Mad Men, Patricia Lee