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Andre Agassi re-signs with Nike: A look back at his memorable commercials

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Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi was with Nike from 1988-2005, and he’s back now. (Heinz Kluetmeier/SI)

Andre Agassi has re-signed with Nike, eight years after leaving the company that helped him become one of the most recognizable personalities in sports

Agassi parted ways with the Swoosh in 2005 after 17 years to join Adidas, which made a financial commitment to his foundation. His return to Nike coincides with its new “Designed to Move” campaign, which looks to end “the growing epidemic of physical inactivity.” Agassi and Nike both tweeted about the reunion on Monday.

“Nike has opened new horizons through its Designed to Move campaign, while consistently and historically championing health and fitness,” Agassi said in a news release. “Coming back together through this partnership will have a multiplying effect on this and future generations.”

Here’s a Nike featurette from 1991 with CEO Phil Knight discussing the decision to back the young star.

Through his 17 years with Nike, which signed him in 1988 after he had turned pro two years earlier, Agassi’s flamboyant personality took center stage as he was essentially marketed as the successor to John McEnroe. It was a perfect throughline for Nike, which initially paired Agassi with its other tennis bad boy to continue the rock-and-roll tennis ethos. After Nike signed Agassi’s main rival, Pete Sampras, in 1994, the two were marketed in start contrasts, the yin and yang of men’s tennis. (Sampras left Nike in 2002.)

Here’s a look at some of Agassi’s most memorable commercial work with Nike.

1990: And thus begins the campaign to cast Agassi as the next tennis rebel who is hell-bent on destroying the sport’s decorum.


1990: Agassi and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis and Flea literally play “Rock ‘n Roll” tennis. “Hit the ball as loud as you can,” Flea says, in the way only Flea can.


1991: Mullet? Check. Neon biker shorts? Check. Julia Childs? Check.


1993: Nike wouldn’t sign Tiger Woods until 1996, so why not use Agassi to take on the golfing establishment?


1995: The most famous of the Agassi/Sampras commercials, the guys take to the streets (the ad was shot in downtown San Francisco) for an impromptu match.


1996: With Nike using its three key tennis stars, McEnroe works the commentary booth during “the longest point.” Who knew Nike would foreshadow where the men’s game would actually be 15 years later?


2000: In case you didn’t know, Agassi and Sampras are pretty different. This is actually my favorite commercial with them.


2002: As their rivalry wound down (the two would face off for the last time in 2002), Nike opted to show the softer side of Agassi and Sampras.

Videos via YouTube users TheMrFett, worm73, Jean-Sebastien Blondel, CulturePub and Eva Chen.

  • Published On May 14, 2013
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