words //Â Nick DePaula:
At just 17 years-old, LeBron James was already deemed the future of basketball â€” theÂ Air Apparent.
Featured onÂ the cover of Sports IllustratedÂ just as his junior season was coming to an end, the legacy magazineâ€™s declaration was unmistakable:
â€œTHE CHOSEN ONEâ€
In a new spot released to coincide with Jamesâ€™ 9th NBA Finals beginning this week, Nike hearkens back to the summer of 2002, after that fateful SI cover, when a young LeBron walked into a Las Vegas tattoo parlor during a summer basketball trip.
He proudly took to the tagline, even wearing â€œChosen Oneâ€ leg bands to close out his Saint Vincent-Saint Maryâ€™s High School career, where he finished as not just the consensus #1 player in the country, but the clear-cut #1 pick of the NBAâ€™s 2003 Draft.
The tattoo itself has long become just another element of hype that James has lived up to â€” and exceeded.
Soon after entering the league, he also inked the brandâ€™s â€œWITNESSâ€ slogan along his right leg, creating a picturesque framing of the word during each of his signature tomahawk dunks. Years later, both tats became the subject of an opportunistic businessmanâ€™s quest to actually license the artwork from the original tattoo artists,Â for his own commercial uses.
Check out Nikeâ€™s newest LeBron spot below, fittingly dubbed â€œAlways Believe,â€ and let us know what you thinkÂ on Twitter. Where does this rank amongst the brandâ€™s endless assortment of James commercials over the past fifteen years?