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'We'll come together for change': New Nike ad shows unifying power of sports

A stunning new Nike ad melds together footage of everyday athletes and superstars like Megan Rapinoe and LeBron James.
NIKE / YouTube
/ Source: TODAY

Nike's newest ad has a powerful message about how sports can bring us all together to create change.

The 1 minute, 30 second clip called "You Can't Stop Us" is narrated by soccer star Megan Rapinoe and features 53 people ranging from everyday athletes to superstars like Rapinoe, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Colin Kaepernick and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Created by the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency that has put together other popular Nike ads, the film's extraordinary editing melds together 72 archival sports action sequences that were selected out of more than 4,000 pieces of footage, according to a news release by Nike.

The video starts with a Black swimmer melding into a white track athlete across a split screen, and then shows how the movements of different sports are the same. An equestrian competitor soars on a horse and then turns into a BMX rider flying off a jump. Swimmers launch off a starting block just as sprinters explode off the line to start a race.

"We're never alone, and that is our strength," Rapinoe says in the narration. "Because when we're doubted, we'll play as one."

There are 24 sports represented in the clip, which highlights the kinetic movement of sports and aims to show the commonalities among athletes from different countries.

The clip also references the coronavirus pandemic with footage of empty stadiums being cleaned by workers followed by scenes of everyday people improvising ways to play tennis while in quarantine.

"We know things won't always go our way," Rapinoe says. "But whatever it is, we'll find a way."

The video ad also addresses the protests against racial injustice that have swept across the world, showing athletes in multiple sports taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Players may be back on the pitch, but we are not going back to an old normal," Rapinoe said in a statement in the Nike release. "We need to continue to reimagine this world and make it better. We have all these people in the streets, using their voices, and those voices are being heard. I ask people to be energized by this moment and not let up. I believe it’s everybody’s responsibility to advocate for change."

The ad's dazzling visuals and message have drawn a strong response.

"Nothing quite compares to an inspiring @Nike ad. Snaps to the team who edited this masterpiece," wrote one fan.

"Entire books could be written about this 4 second clip from the new nike ad," another tweeted.

"This is the best sports ad I’ve ever seen - Nike does it again," former pro golfer Anya Alvarez added.