Jordan's 'Beyond' Introduces a New Star for a New Time

It's high school basketball player Kamaya Jones

Launched mid-month during NBA All-Star Weekend, Uncommon’s “Beyond” for Jordan packs serious female talent. You've got Kamaya Jones in front of the camera. Teyana Taylor provides musical direction. And singer Kaelynn Hayes provides the soundtrack.

This is really Jones' story, though.

The ad opens during a critical part of the game. Kamaya gets pushed to the ground. In a moment reminiscent of a key scene in Guy Ritchie's Snatch, her body lands not on the court but in a swimming pool, and she resurfaces as a younger version of herself.

This is par-for-the-course hero-making. After that dramatic transition, we shuttle through flashbacks. Her parents’ love teaches her to reach high and far. Her social memories are full of awkward solitudes and quiet focus as basketball imprints itself into her circuitry. 

When we return to the game, she seems more invested and empowered, because we know where she’s from. She makes that classic Jordan leap, the ball leaving her fingers to find its own height…

…and cut to "Beyond" with the brand's iconic logo in one corner. As for Jones, she's free to make her own destiny, and as yet there's no end to her story.

When Michael Jordan cut his historic deal with Nike in 1984, MJ was barely out of rookie season. Nike wasn't as well-known as it is now. Their stars have risen immeasurably, and it's hard to separate those trajectories. Jordan gave Nike an epic hero. And Nike gave Jordan the means and opportunity to creatively express, cultivate and merchandise his brand identity. Every contemporary influencer wishes for such a union.

Nearly 40 years on, the Jordan brand is ludicrously valuable, because it stands for more than the sum of its parts. It's fundamentally different from all the others. Jordan effectively fuses the spirit of No. 23 with representatives of the next generation. Such is the case in "Beyond," where the branding serves as a kind of godparent, sending some serious mojo Jones' way. 

That doesn't mean Kamaya has to be the new Michael. That kind of pressure we wouldn’t put on anybody, and Jones is best served by simply being her best self.

Rather, just as Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer shared power with all girls who could potentially become slayers, MJ's legacy lives by infusing energy and equity into many instead of investing it all with the brand's namesake.

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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