Nike debate this ad.

The industry of criticizing Kevin Durant in particular and debating hot sports takes in general has become so large that Nike took a shot at it in a commercial unveiled after the Warriors won the NBA championship Monday night. Here’s the “Debate This” ad:

Some of the takes in it:

“Kevin Durant’s too weak to be first pick. He’s a skinny teenager who will never make it in a man’s league.”

“He’s soft. S-O-F-T.”

“He’s got some offensive skills, but you have to play defense.”

“He might drop 40, but he’s not a real leader.”

“Scoring title? Great. MVP? Big deal.”



“Gravy train.”

“That was the weakest move ever!”


It’s unclear how many of those are word-for-word from sports pundits, but they all certainly fit with criticisms we’ve seen levied at Durant, with the “weakest move ever” in particular being exactly what noted ESPN hot-take artist Stephen A. Smith (who’s had a long vendetta against Durantfired off when Durant went to Golden State, and later maintained this past week despite poignant criticisms from Durant’s mom Wanda.  And ending the ad on “Debate This” is perfect. That’s one way to live up to the motto of “Embrace Debate.”

There have been plenty of hot-take debaters weighing in on Durant, but it’s Stephen A. who perhaps does it most, and he who is perhaps most targeted by this ad. And even Nike is laughing at him now. But it’s not all bad for Stephen A., of course. After all, he finally got a Finals pick right after six straight statistically-implausible seasons of picking wrong. (As long as you consider only his Golden State pick at the start of the Finals, not his pick of the Cavs back at the start of March.) And he’s still paid many, many millions to watch and complain about basketball, even when he isn’t threatening or criticizing Durant. So he, and all the other lucratively-compensated hot-take artists out there, feel like a very valid target for a “Debate This.” Well played, Nike.

[Nike on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.