New Nike Ad Shows The Origin Of LeBron’s Now-Iconic ‘Chosen 1’ Tattoo

lebron james chosen one tattoo nike ad


LeBron James was just beginning to captivate the world with his incomparable basketball talents as a high school basketball player. As a senior at St. Vincent-St. Mary, James averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 3.4 steals per game, was named Ohio Mr. Basketball for the third consecutive year and selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team for an unprecedented third straight year.

In 2002, a year before he was selected as the #1 pick in the NBA Draft, LeBron was so sure in his God-given skills that he got his now famous “Chosen 1” tattoo. A new Nike ad documents LeBron’s decision to get the very lofty ink when he was still only a high school basketball player. LeBron’s “Chosen 1” tattoo stretches across his back from shoulder to shoulder.

In the Nike commercial, a young LeBron James wearing a St. Vincent-St. Mary’s hoodie strolls into a tattoo shop in August of 2002. He hands the tattoo artist a note and requests the tattoo. The tattoo artist double-checks with the young man if he is absolutely sure that he wants that particular tattoo, and the young LeBron is confident in his choice of ink. The screen then goes black with the tagline, “Always Believe.” The ad also says, “It’s one thing to put words on your back. It’s another thing to live up to them.”

A year after this ad is set, LeBron would be drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, finish his rookie season by averaging 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game, plus win the NBA Rookie of the Year. He would also sign an endorsement deal with Nike and now has a lifetime deal with the sneaker giant that is said to be worth more than $1 billion.

The commercial titled “LeBron James – The Tattoo,” aired on the eve of the 2018 NBA Finals, where the now-33-year-old LeBron James and his Cavs will take on the Golden State Warriors for the fourth consecutive time.