Nike celebrates its 50th anniversary with a Spike Lee-directed short film

Seen It All highlights legendary athletes of the past 50 years and the next generation.

Nike 50th anniversary "Seen It All" short film

Nike celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, a milestone it claims isn’t just about looking back, but rather looking to the past for inspiration. To visualize this belief, the brand has put forth Seen It All, a short film that honors the strength of Nike’s past and “the promise of its future,” according to a press release.

Spike Lee both directed the film and stars in it, reimagining his iconic role as Mars Blackmon from his 1986 film She’s Gotta Have It and several Nike ads. The short sees Mars passionately commenting on 50 years of landmark sports moments before turning to a protagonist named Zimmie, played by Indigo Hubbard-Salk. The latter character embodies the optimism, energy, and unlimited potential of the next 50 years of sport.

Timeless — Throughout its narrative, Seen It All pays homage to sports legends while also celebrating the upcoming generation. Nike athletes like Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Mia Hamm, and Megan Rapinoe are highlighted amongst others like Naomi Osaka, Sabrina Ionescu, Chloe Kim, Ja Morant, Reilyn Turner, and Joe Burrow. In total, more than 40 athletes are showcased in the short.


With these athletes in mind, Mars and Zimmie debate the past and future of sports. One thing they agree on, however, is, “YO, it’s gotta be the shoes!” The film depicts Mars wearing a classic pair of black, white, and red Jordan 4s while Zimmie dons bright-green Off-White x Nike Air Force 1s. The “Seen It All” film is the first time Nike has confirmed the existence of the latter pair, which is rumored to drop later this summer.

The next 50 — As the Seen It All short proves, Nike is only looking to the next 50 years and how it can continue to serve athletes as well as invite everyone to sport. “[Nike] is a 50-year startup,” said John Hoke, Nike’s Chief Design Officer, in a press conference earlier this year. “The best is in front of us. We're never done creating; we’re never done exploring.”

Continuing that ethos, a press release states: “Over the past 50 years, Nike has been a champion for athletes and sport and will remain true to that.” Between its sustainable design, high-tech clothing, athlete partnerships, and coveted collaborations, we’d say the brand is already well on its way.