Skinned knees. Missed shots. Wipeouts. Mortifying, face-palming moments are usually relegated to bloopers than highlight reels — but in Nike’s “Play New” campaign, an elite cast of professional athletes prove otherwise. Instead of exhibiting their superior display of athleticism (the kind of inspirational fodder typically reserved for sportswear commercials) these pros showcase the discovery and joy of picking up a new sport — and sucking at it.
There’s baller Sabrina Ionescu trying out tennis and hitting net. Or Dina Asher-Smith, the fastest British woman in recorded history, taking a swing at golf and making a bad shot. Or eight-time Paralympic track and field medalist Blake Leeper striking out in baseball. (Plus, a cameo by award-winning artist Rosalía attempting archery.)
“Play means joy. It represents pure enjoyment and being able to just be free. All kids play. That’s just a natural thing they do,” says Melanie Auguste, VP of global brand marketing at Nike. “The reason we are encouraging people to ‘Play New,’ is to celebrate that notion of getting back to the joy of discovering and trying something for the first time — the joy of letting loose a little bit.”
And honestly, nothing feels more inspirational — or relatable.
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