Nike’s New Neymar Line “Borrows” Our Graffiti Concept

The original. UrbanFutsal LA, Aug. 2015.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s true, we just got our pants charmed off by a multibillion-dollar company. For our latest summer youth tournament, UrbanFutsal LA designed an original concept with our (anonymous) graffiti artist, featured above. In lieu of the usual plastic trophies, our artist created a large graffiti piece that was then parceled into segments and given away to winning team members. We thought it made for a memorable award, and it was great to see these kids go nuts for distinctive artwork. In fact, the concept was so popular, we did it again a few months later at our Copa Urbana Invitational.

Dope art for dope girls!

As usual, we share our creative concepts on the interwebs and give props where they’re due. Apparently, this particular idea got around and must’ve landed on the desk of a Nike exec who recognized the genius and ran with it. (That’s right. I said it.

Fast forward a few months later to January, when Nike teamed up with Neymar Jr. and Brazilian artist/designer Bruno Big, below, to release the Hypervenom cleat. For this campaign, Nike commissioned the artist to create a large graffiti art mural comprised of 1,000 individual pieces — in this case, shoe boxes — to be broken apart and sold individually. Sound familiar?

Bruno Big poses for Nike’s Hypervenom campaign, Jan. 2016.

The artwork was available exclusively on the Nike soccer app and yes, Neymar Jr. was given box #1. Dubbed Ousadia Alegria, the design draws from Neymar’s personal mantra of “daring” and “joy” (which are also tattooed on his legs), and we’re definitely not hating on the vibrant player or the talented artist. Bruno Big is a creative force and has explored different techniques in printmaking, pottery, stencil, woodcut, digital illustration and, of course, graffiti art.

We just hope the next time Nike’s in search for the next big idea, they’ll come directly to the source, and avoid an all-too common practice of companies lifting independent work. We’re proud of our urban culture and have plenty of creatives ready to collaborate. So Nike, don’t be scared to give us a ring, sometime. Or we may just sic these vicious monsters on you.

Playas don’t play, Nike.

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