Nike wanted to make a splash for the 30th anniversary of the famed “Just Do It” campaign, and it found the perfect way:
It made Colin Kaepernick one of the stars of it.
Unsurprisingly, this brought a backlash from some people on the political right, who have turned kneeling during the national anthem before an NFL game one of the most absurd parts of our national discourse. There are people burning their Nike clothing (note: If you already paid for the Nike shoes or gear they already have your money, burning something is just throwing that money away, try donating them to a charity for homeless veterans at least, otherwise your gesture is a “look at me” moment). Some are calling for a Nike boycott, which will go as well as the boycotts of Walmart, Starbucks, Netflix, Amazon, the Star Wars films, Hamilton, and the rest.
LeBron James and Chris Paul — both who have Nike endorsement contracts (CP3 through the Jordan brand) — were at the forefront of NBA players backing Kaepernick.
Other NBA players have joined in.
While a few will try to slam the NBA players on social media, it will have no real impact. Put simply, the NBA’s core demographic — and the people generally buying LeBron’s and Paul’s shoes — is different from the NFL’s in that it’s younger, it’s more diverse, it’s more urban, and it’s more international. Those people get what Kaepernick is doing and why, and they generally support it. It’s the same reason President Donald Trump taking Twitter shots at the NBA or is players doesn’t have the same impact, this is not his constituency. LeBron and CP3 can speak out and will feel no backlash (not from Adam Silver, who encourages them to speak out on issues, and not from the NBA’s owners either, because the power dynamic in the NBA between stars and players is flipped from the NFL — the players have it).