Nike ads with John McEnroe – part 1

In 1978, McEnroe signed one of the first professional endorsement deals in tennis: an 8-year clothing contract with Sergio Tacchini. That same year, Nike signed him for a shoe-contract. McEnroe was the top money maker of the day, and even when he wasn’t winning, he received considerable attention due to his frequent on-court outbursts.


In the late 70s, Nike launched the Rebel with a cause campaign (a reference to James Dean’s film Rebel without a cause).


John was featured in commercials and billboards advertisements, which portrayed him as the quick-tempered player he was.


McEnroe continued to wear Sergio Tacchini clothes until the mid-80’s, he then signed a clothes and shoes contract with Nike.

Did you know that the famous Agassi’s denim shorts were originally designed for Mac but he refused to wear them.

As of today, McEnroe is still sponsored by Nike which has released a new collection of John McEnroe inspired tennis apparel last year

Nike also released Nike Trainer 1 “Mac Knows” shoes. Inspired by tennis bad boy turned commentator John McEnroe, the inside of the tongue features a “Mac Knows” tag, stemming from McEnroe’s appearance in the infamous “Bo Knows” commercials. The grey and black upper is accented by hits of chlorophyll, while a stitched tennis player silhouette and a tennis ball design on the insole complete the package.



Mac also appeared in numerous Nike commercials with fellow stars like Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras but also Michael Jordan. Enjoy the videos!

John McEnroe (1985)

As far as I know, the one Nike commercial featuring only John McEnroe. (Could anybody confirm it?)



How to play tennis (1990)


Bo knows (1990)


Heritage (1991)

To introduce Air 180 and symbolize the heritage of all sports, Nike depicts a lonely runner at night while images of famous athletes appear on walls and buildings behind him. This ad was picked as best Nike TV commercial by employees of Nike and its ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, for the agency’s 20th anniversary in 2004:


More Nike commercials with John McEnroe in part 2 of this article

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  1. […] of unique and ‘risque’ sporting personalities like this Berkely ad and the following Mcenroe campaign. Since then Web 2.0 has further blurred the lines between media and […]



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