It’s fitting Serena Williams would narrate a commercial empowering women to showcase the level of unconstrained grit and determination that has made her one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Williams posted the Nike ad to her Twitter account Sunday, hours before it was scheduled to air during the Academy Awards. The 90-second “Dream Crazier” ad shows women past and present shattering cultural stereotypes with athletic feats that defy conventional ideas regarding women and emotion.
“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic,” says Williams, who was a presenter for “A Star Is Born” during Sunday’s award show. “If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we’re delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy.
“But a woman running a marathon was crazy. A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking, crazy. Coaching an NBA team, crazy. A woman competing in a hijab; changing her sport; landing a double-cork 1080; or winning 23 grand slams, having a baby, and then coming back for more, crazy, crazy, crazy, and crazy.
“So if they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do.”
The commercial shows several prolific athletes, including Sparks great Lisa Leslie, soccer standout Alex Morgan, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach and WNBA great Becky Hammon.
Nike has a reputation for making commercials that rock the status quo. Last year’s “Believe in Something” advertisement featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick became a national talking point — and a calculated, yet successful risk, for the athletic apparel company.