Glory Be, The funks on me!
Nowadays “super teams” are almost the new norm in today’s NBA (see: Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics), the notion that so many veritable basketball superstars could play together in a regular season game was, quite literally, fiction a decade ago.
All aboard the Funk Ship, ’cause we’re going back in time.
Spring 2002, the story of the Roswell Rayguns started with a three-part Nike ad campaign, that took viewers back to an alternate reality in 1975. Some of their top signature athletes played for a fictional super team called "Roswell Rayguns". The Roswell Rayguns were a struggling ABA franchise until it “made a couple of key trades” for Vince Carter/ “Dr. Funk”, Baron “The Numbers Runner” Davis, Paul “The Shot Caller” Pierce, Jerry “The Hustler” Stackhouse, and Jermaine “The Undisco Kid” O’Neal. In addition, other Nike athletes such as Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan donned Rayguns uniforms in the final commercial.
Their souls for the game and culture can never be duplicated let alone forgotten. But they can be resurrected. The Roswell Rayguns are the rebirth of cool. Dr. Funk, The Undisco Kid, Numbers Runner, The Shot Caller, and The Hustler. These five take no jive, only names and prisoners. They've come together to save basketball, and eliminate everyone givin' the game a bad name. You've been warned, the real ROSWELL effect is coming to your area.
The soundtrack of these videos was performed by P-Funk artist Bootsy Collins. Nike also launched a Rayguns website, and sold limited edition merchandise branded with the team’s logo, including authentic jerseys and two Rayguns colorways of Nike Dunk SB sneakers.
Unfortunately, much of the information about the beloved Rayguns team disappeared over time. But what remains of Nike’s rebirth of cool is a fun reminder that we can still hop in the Funk Ship, and return to 1975 – err, 2002 – when the game was so much simpler.
Even if it wasn’t real.
Fast Forward: 2021!
Nike brings back the iconic Roswell Rayguns merch including jerseys, hoodies, shorts, socks, a Rayguns Kyrie 7 and and AF1 in the iconic colorways.