See Nike’s Great Kevin Durant Ad That Ran Right After the Warriors Won It All

'Debate This' silences the critics

Headshot of Tim Nudd

It’s becoming a required tradition for brands to air congrats ads for their star athletes, and even for whole sports franchises, immediately after every championship victory.

Visa pioneered this back in 2008, when it aired a special spot for Michael Phelps in the first commercial slot after he won his record eighth gold medal in Beijing. But the tactic has picked up steam lately, with Nike being particularly fond of it—as seen last June with its Cleveland Cavaliers tribute ad, and then in October with its lovely Chicago Cubs spot.

The sports giant continued the tradition last night after the Golden State Warriors won the NBA title, which brought Nike endorser Kevin Durant his first championship ring. Right after the final buzzer, it aired the Wieden + Kennedy spot below, in which Durant’s critics gleefully detail his many flaws but are silenced by the one thing you can’t argue with—his championship victory.

The media buy is inspired, if standard practice now. Just as important, the spot rings true, given Durant’s performance this postseason. Derided as weak and soft when he came into the league, Durant was mind-blowing in the Finals, averaging 35 points a game and dominating on both ends of the court.

Kudos to Nike, too, for embracing the tension inherent in Durant’s career, which led to a congrats ad that felt as hard-won as the championship itself.

Client: Nike
Project: Debate This

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte, Ryan O’Rourke
Interactive Director: Dan Viens
Copywriter: Josh Bogdan
Art Director: Pedro Izique
Integrated Production Director: Matt Hunnicutt
Senior Integrated Producer: Jake Grand
Production Assistant: Candice Harbour
Account Team: Shinya Kamata, Simone Jackson, Erik Wade, Chris Willingham
Media/Comms Team: John Furnari, Emily Graham, Anthony Holton, Danny Sheniak
Strategy: Reid Schilperoort, Nathan Goldberg, Andy Lindblade
Business Affairs Manager: Dusty Slowik
W+K Studio: Tim O’Brien, Deb Lee
Creative Management: Emily Norman

Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Tim Godsall
Executive Producer: Eric Stern
Line Producer: Brady Vant Hull
Director of Photography: Darko Suvak

Editorial Company: Arcade
Editor: Geoff Hounsell
Assistant Editor: Laura Sanford
Post Producer
Managing Partner
Executive Producer : Alexa Atkin
Damian Stevens
Crissy DeSimone

VFX, Design & Color: The Mill
Exec Producer
Production Coordinator: Anastasia Von Rahl
Alana Giordano
Lead Artist: John Shirley
Flame Artist: Phil Millberger

Executive Producer, Colour
Colour Producer: Thatcher Peterson
Adam Scott
Diane Valera
Producer: Alana Giordano

Music + Sound Design: Barking Owl
Sound Company
Music Sweetening : Houston Fry
Sound Designer: Morgan Johnson
CD/Partner: Ashley Benton
Kelly Bayett

Mix Company: LIME Studios
Mixer: Zac Fisher
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.