Once the most marketable celebrity on the planet, Michael Jordan is now an abrasive, cranky old man with a Hitler ‘stache. Jordan’s frequent public antics aren’t exactly generating the kind of press that his many sponsors would prefer, especially for the athletic apparel brand that bears his namesake.
As a result, marketing efforts for Jordan brand are turning attention away from the superstar and focusing instead on those who carry his same dedication toward achieving greatness. A new video campaign from digital agency Blast Radius is doing so by featuring four very different athletes who use their love of basketball to “rise above” the constraints of their environments. The above video, #RISEABOVE Expectations,” focuses on a young Iraqi girl who uses the game to break free of her country’s historical treatment of women. Though a bit long, it’s a very poignant look at an athlete who treats basketball not as a hobby, but as a tool for changing her society’s limitations.
The second spot, #RISEABOVE limits, features Scott Odom, a baller who plays hard despite a missing limb. Odom’s dedication led him to found AMP1, which unites amputee basketball players around the country to play at an intimidatingly high level. On the way in the coming weeks are two more spots, one about a group of players from a remote village in China and another about Chicago kids who use basketball to reclaim their violent, impoverished neighborhoods. As a Chicago local and a fan of Hoop Dreams, I’m really looking forward to the latter.