Nike's 'You Can't Stop Us' commercial celebrates athletes' unity with incredible editing

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3-min read

Nike understands a moment. So with live sports taking back their place on TV sets across the country, the athletic brand released a 90-second commercial to coincide.

The spot, titled “You Can’t Stop Us” and narrated by United States women’s national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe, promotes the power of sport.

Nike commercial focused on race, COVID-19 pandemic

Rapinoe’s narration focuses on race, equality, the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down sports:

“We’re never alone. And that is our strength. Because when we’re doubted, we’ll play as one. When we’re held back, we’ll go farther. And harder. If we’re not taken seriously, we’ll prove that wrong. And if we don’t fit the sport, we’ll change the sport.

“We know things won’t always go our way. But whatever it is, we’ll find a way. And when things aren’t fair, we’ll come together for change.

“And no matter how bad it gets, we will always come back stronger. Because nothing can stop what we can do together.”

Who is in the Nike ‘Can’t Stop Us’ commercial?

Rapinoe, named the Best FIFA Women’s player in 2019 and winner of that year’s Ballon d’Or, narrates a spot about athletes advocating for change and fighting for communities. It’s also focused on the common elements shared by athletes and how they’ve overcome.

“I believe in this film because it’s so important for companies and brands to give athletes a real voice in this moment, and to say something that’s meaningful and powerful during this time to bring more people into the movement,” Rapinoe said, via CNBC.

There are 36 pairs of athletes in the commercial, including Rapinoe, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Colin Kaepernick, Breanna Stewart, Naomi Osaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The spot features various teams, including those that have taken a knee to protest police brutality, and a large number of sports.

Unity, similarities shine through editing process

Black Lives Matter written on the court with players kneeling while locking arms and an American flag behind them.
Nike's latest commercial focused on making change and showed athletes kneeling during the anthem. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)

What’s most impressive about the company’s latest commercial is the editing that went into showing the similarities between athletes and their sports. It opens with a runner at the start line who shifts to her right, crossing a line in the middle of the screen and becoming a swimmer who sways at her own start line.

That continued throughout the spot and is even more incredible in photographic form, as Seattle Storm star Stewart showed on Instagram.

Within a week of the sporting world shutting down due to the pandemic, Nike released an ad aimed at staying inside to help the world. All of its athletes and sponsored teams share the videos and phrase on social media platforms.

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