Nike was quick to honor Kobe Bryant in the wake of his sudden and tragic death, posting an image and a brief written tribute to the 41-year-old retired NBA superstar on Jan. 26, the day of the helicopter crash that killed him.
On Monday, as thousands gathered at the Staples Center to pay their respects to the Laker legend, Nike unveiled a new video ad honoring Bryant. Spare in the extreme, the two-minute piece features no images whatsoever—just audio and onscreen text that combine to tell Bryant's story, from his early days through the Laker dynasty to his time as a husband, father, Oscar winner and more.
Wieden + Kennedy Portland created the spot. See it here:
The craft of the piece—the lack of visuals in particular—feels entirely fitting to recognize a man who is gone but will never be forgotten. And of course, the ability to stir great emotion with such a minimalist approach is classic Nike. At W+K, Guilherme Souza and Emma Barnett are credited as the copywriter and art director on the piece.
" 'Mamba Forever' pays tribute to beloved member of the Nike family, Kobe Bryant. One of the greatest athletes of his generation, Bryant had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball," the brand said in a statement.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Executive Creative Directors Jason Bagley & Eric Baldwin
Creative Directors Alberto Ponte & Ryan O’Rourke
Copywriter / Art Director Guilherme Souza & Emma Barnett
Head of Production Matt Hunnicutt
Executive Producer Jake Grand
Producer Antonio Burnett
Director of Business Affairs Amber Lavender
Business Affairs Manager Laura Caldwell & Maggie Harasyn
Group Brand Director Andre Gustavo
Brand Director Erik Wade
Brand Executive Jon Vaughan
Media Director Reme DeBisschop
Communications Planning Supervisor Ryan Craven | Kallie Tenzeldam
Design Ops Manager/Design Producer Alicia Kuna
Studio Designer Mitch Wilson
Company Joint Editorial
Editor Steve Sprinkel
Assistant Editor Kevin Alfoldy
Post Executive Producer Jen Milano
Flame Kevin Alfoldy
VFX Executive Producers Bugs Russell
VFX Producer Annie Rosick
Sound Design Company Joint
Sound Designer Noah Woodburn
Mix Company Joint
Audio Mixer Noah Woodburn