While at a fashion show in New York, new Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James said that he “stands with Nike” reports ESPN.
James made the comments with his daughter in his arms while receiving an award for style and philanthropy from Harlem’s Fashion Row in a ceremony celebrating diversity in the fashion world. The event was also sponsored by Nike, who also sponsors the former NBA champion.
“I stand for anybody who believes in change,” said James in his speech at the award ceremony. “I stand with Nike, all day, every day.”
James wasn’t the only person at the event standing by Kaepernick and by Nike’s decision to feature the former NFL player known for his protest during the national anthem before games. Bethann Hardison, a former model who was also honored at the awards for her work in support of diversity, also spoke about how she was pleased with Nike’s decision and that she is a big supporter of Kaepernick.
Ostensibly Nike’s main job is to sell shoes, but appealing to a diverse audience can help that, and that was the key to Tuesday’s event that James was present for. The event included the launch of James’ new shoes, this time women’s shoes, a rarity in basketball shoe marketing, designed by three African-American women, with James using the opportunity to give praise to the women in his life.
Perhaps the biggest sports star to throw support behind Kaepernick is Serena Williams, who the Inquisitr reported was “especially proud to be a part of the Nike family” upon seeing the news.
Things haven’t been completely positive for Nike and Kaepernick as a result of the advertising decision, with the Inquisitr reporting that many people online took to burning their Nike shoes and apparel in a display of protest. Aside from those burning shoes, President Donald Trump also spoke against the move, in line with his continued frustration with Kaepernick’s protests.
The initial backlash has hurt Nike following the announcement, with CNBC reporting that shares in the company had fallen 3.2 percent in trading on Tuesday but have since bounced back, trading up 0.4 percent on Wednesday with projections that rise will continue.
Kaepernick forms just part of a larger ad campaign, forming part of the 30th anniversary of Nike’s famous “Just Do It” slogan that has dominated the company’s advertising for those 30 years. The ad will debut during the NFL kickoff this week which will surely create more discussion in the coming days.