Nike Tribute To Lebron James Receives Backlash: ‘Stop Mocking Jesus’

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Earlier this week, Nike posted a video on Instagram that highlights Lebron James career and celebrates his recent feat of becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

However, the background music used to celebrate the Los Angeles Lakers star has caused quite the uproar.

In the black-and-white video full of his highlights, the audio was that of an apparent preacher.

The ad was a revival of the old “WITNESS” campaign used for James during his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the mid-2000s, but that didn’t stop Instagram users for lashing out their anger at the brand.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James celebrates after scoring to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. 
Lakers forward Lebron James celebrates after passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA Scoring record. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The lyrics read:

“Do we have anyone in the building today willing to testify? Talk to me now; he’s done so much already. We’ve witnessed him do so much already. We’ve heard about the things this man can do already. And we just can’t help but celebrate him. Haters, go ahead and recognize, that when you speak on his name, you’re gonna go higher, higher, higher. So excuse me while I cut a step, ‘cause I can’t help but to honor him. I can’t help but to lift him up. I got one last question for ya. Can I get a witness? Can I get a witness? I said can I get a witness?”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) meets with former player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after breaking the NBA all time scoring record against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Arena. 
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar congratulates Lebron James on the court after Lebron breaks his record. (Gary A. Vazquez-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo)


Negative Reaction To The Lebron James Tribute

Voice actor Alonzo Chadwick claimed in a tweet that he was the voice of the preacher, and the sound was recorded solely for the commercial. However, many Instagram users still found the language to be in poor taste.

“The choice of song is incredibly inappropriate,” one user wrote. That was one of the nicer ones.

Another added, “Choose a different audio… he’s a great basketball player, but he’s not The Lord. Another said that Nike was “mocking” Jesus.

Nike signed James to an endorsement deal for close to $100 million right out of high school in 2003, and he has been linked to the brand ever since.

Written by Ryan Morik


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