Nike's Worst Nightmare: Kobe Vs. Not LeBron

Juan Carlos ReyesContributor IJune 1, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 19:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the ball against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the forth quarter at Staples Center on January 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Don't you just love those Nike commercials that feature puppet versions of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James? Those are hilarious.

How can you not laugh at the overload of chalk due to LeBron's excitement for the postseason?

Tell me you didn't laugh at Kobe getting on LeBron's case looking for his championship rings. I dare you.

Whichever commercials you enjoyed, you have to think about how much Nike has been freaking out about the fact that the Kobe vs. LeBron final that everybody and their momma wanted is not going to happen.

After winning a franchise record 66 games, it looked as if the Cleveland Cavaliers were on their way to a potential NBA championship. I repeat: potential—as in it may not happen.

When I first saw the Vitamin Water commercial in which people are debating over who is better between the two players, I knew something was going to go awry.

Then came the Nike commercials. As funny as they are, the only way this campaign would really work is if both teams succeeded and did meet in the Finals. Looks like we're filing that in the "not gonna happen" drawer.

What Nike should have done was hold on to those commercials in case the Cavs and Los Angeles Lakers actually did meet.

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Now it's time to play damage control. How does Nike salvage this? Unfortunately they can't unless they can quickly create a Dwight Howard puppet.

Last year when the Boston Celtics and Lakers made the finals, the split screen campaign was awesome—especially the one between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

This year, Vitamin Water and Nike must have called Miss Cleo and got the wrong information in believing that both teams would go all the way.

Unfortunately, they don't realize that the playoffs are a whole new ball game. It almost backfired when the Lakers almost got eliminated by the Houston Rockets a few weeks ago when they were pushed to Game Seven.

If they had lost that series and the Cavs still lost to the Orlando Magic, all Hell would have broken loose at Nike.

So what did Nike learn from this lesson? Nothing is ever set in stone.

Everybody wanted LeBron versus Kobe, but instead you got the Orlando Magic who was able to make LeBron James disappear. 

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