It should come as no surprise that Nike found a way to capitalize on LeBron James' return to Cleveland.
Since announcing his decision in a letter published in July, James has been the most popular man in Cleveland -- this after some inglorious time as the city's Public Enemy No. 1. His passionate letter, in which he praised the city and acknowledged his own past mistakes, was a marketing gem in its own right.
And Nike might have scored a victory in translating this narrative into an epic, almost beautiful television ad. While the company has recently struggled to produce iconic commercials that transcend advertising and inform pop culture, this latest ad -- the long version of which runs about two minutes -- might have done the trick.
In the black-and-white ad, LeBron gathers his team for a pre-game huddle and pep talk. As he speaks, attending fans -- and later the entire city of Cleveland -- collapse in on James as his speech reaches a compelling climax:
Love him or hate him, James' homecoming tonight will be a sight to behold, and one that gives the city of Cleveland a serious shot at ending its title drought. Whether he succeeds or fails this season, the storyline will be compelling to the finish.