Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Favourite Basketball Commercials

In my years of watching basketball commercials, I've come across a great many that stick in my head, so many years later.

#5: Mister Robinson's Neighbourhood: Charles Barkley

In the early 90s, David Robinson was one of a seemingly dying breed of great centers in the league. In 90/91 he began appearing in a series of commercials where he'd, "Teach you the life of a basketball player".

Anything from rookies, to coaches, to words of wisdom.

In this case, Charles Barkley shows up with the word of the day!

Why I Like This Commercial:

One of the things that great is it's Charles being Charles, candid and forthright. At least that is until he gets asked the question at the end!

Things I Noticed:

As they go through the montage of Charles fights, you see one against Bill Laimbeer, which I don't think should be held against Charles. Any one out here remember the night Bird fired the ball at him? Or when Parrish smacked him around THREE times (And DIDN'T get kicked out of the game!). Yeah, you get the idea, everyone wanted to kill Bill!

Facial Expressions Freeze Frame Fun:

Pretty much all the cuts to David as he looks on mystified!

What Else Could Have Been Done:

Have Barkley explain that one of the fights was against Bill Laimbeer, who probably deserved it!

#4: Jordan / Bird McDonald's Horse

In the early 90s as Jordan began to get comparisons to the other greats. Of one particular trait, all those game winning shots. So it was logical to pair him off with Larry Bird, who needless to say, hit his share. A good old friendly game of horse...

For a MacDonald's Meal!

Why I like this Commercia

Okay, you got the two players who’d want I you’d bet your life on if the game was on the line. (Okay, so they also should have had West, Jabbar, LeBron, etc) who BOTH ironically shot less than 50 % from the field (So the commercial, technically is inaccurate by the time they make their SECOND shot @ 0:23. Yes I know 23 is Jordan's number! ).

A good old friendly game of HORSE, for a MacDonald's Meal!

So then it turns interesting, because, oh skip ahead to Facial Expression Freeze Frame Fun. But in the meantime,

What I Noticed (About Micheal And Larry):

1) Bird, in the ’87 three point shooting contest, before it began, turned to his opposition and said, “Who is finishing second?”

2) Jordan in game 1 of the ’92 NBA finals drained six three pointers to break Micheal Cooper’s record which was set in the ’87 finals against, you guessed it, Larry Bird.

3) Bird and Jordan had this video game, Jordan vs Bird: One on One, ONE of my favourite Pointless Video Games, ever!

4) The meal would have been cold by the end of the commercial

Facial Expressions Freeze Frame Fun:

Note Jordan’s expression when he is told about the challenge THEN “No Dunks”. He gets it, Larry being Larry!

What else they should have done:

How about, at the very end, they both have to pass their toughest test. First, MJ has to score while being guarded by Gary Payton. Then Bird has to score by getting a basket against Cooper

They should have had either Hondo (Havlicek) or West “steal the meal”. After all, remember game 7 of the 1965 Eastern Conference Final? Or game 3 of the 1962 NBA finals?

#3 Kareem / Bird / Lays

Kareem and Bird's teams played three times in the NBA finals and twice each season from 79/80 to 88/89. Oh, by the way, the Lakers won 5 NBA titles in this time, the Celtics, 3.

Why I Like This Commercial:

Okay, you have pair of 33s in this commercial, bringing back memories of about every NBA final from 1980 to 1989 (Either the Celtics or the Lakers played in every NBA finals from 80 til 89) .

The ending!

Things I noticed:

1) This two almost got into a fight in game 4 of the 1984 NBA finals. Bird was more a friend to Magic Johnson in later years. Still, you couldn't do what they did in this commercial with Magic!

2) Another bad product for Bird to endorse. You know you look at him now and just…I’ll leave it at that!

Facial Expression Freeze Frame Fun:

Kareem when he sees Bird falling right into the Trap! I've won the bet!

What Else They Could Have Done:

1) Have Kareem say, "I don't know if the NBA needs another bald 33 it might take away from the number"?
2) Have Bird say, "I'll bet that this was for the elbow back in '84"?
3) Retire the #33 league wise? I know that's not for here, but you gotta like the idea!

#2 NBA Legends Welcome Shaq (And Reebok) To The Court

Shaq O'Neal was the biggest thing in a long time that the NBA in quite a while. So, naturally, a commercial with all the big man in the past was inevitable

What I liked:

You have Kareem and Wilt, so you know the tension is high! Plus you have Russell, who Wilt (at the time) wasn't to fond of either.
This is probably the first time that they had all gotten together (sans Walton) since game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals.

Things I Noticed:

Obviously, there was something in the contract of everyone to do one significant thing each in this commercial. Russell takes him in (Under his wing?), Walton waiting to be impressed (Foreshadowing his life as an announcer), Kareem giving the disapproval, Wilt handing Shaq his final test!

Facial Expression Freeze Frame Fun:

1) Shaq pretty much all the time in this commercial. He's a kid in a candy store until...
2) The end where Shaq notes what else
3) Kareem when he points out what else
4) The four impatient centers

What Else Could Have Been Done:

Actually, it was done. I would have liked another commercial of this ilk with other centers. And it was. Russell and Wilt were back, along with Willis Reed, with Bill and Wilt actually better in this honorable mention. And so is the great Johnny Wooden. So odd to see him in a commercial like this:

Kareem / Wilt 7 Feet Or Taller TWA!

Kareem said in his book Giant Steps that he hadn't spoken to Wilt in years prior to this commercial. And already they were firing insults at each other in both their biographies. This commercial and Kareem's later breaking of the Dipper's all time scoring mark seemed to put those feelings away.

But, of course, Wilt's jealousy oozed out more often then not later in the decade before Kareem fired back, all guns blazing in his 1990 book Kareem.

Why I liked This Commercial:

I think I just said it above. The real life tension between the two! And also, why are you promoting 7 footers as you average joe on a plane. A 7 footer sticks out like a sore thumb on a bus. Can you imagine on a plane? I mean, it's not as if they are at that higher of an altitude then they already are standing on the ground!
Kareem has had a lot of media exposure on flying. More on that.

Things I Noticed:

1) Kareem really knows how to get into the act in these situations. Anyone else here seen Airplane?
2) Wilt as usual, is proud of his height. I think that's one of reasons he didn't like being upstaged.

Facial Expression Freeze Frame Fun:

1) Wilt, of course, and NOT acting out of character when Kareem said, "Taller?"
2) Wilt when he says, "Even if your 7 feet tall!"
3) Kareem taking a seat

What Else Could Have Been Done:

Wilt should have turned to the camera and said, "Too bad I can't get 20, 000 on this!"
Kareem should have turned to the camera and said, "I'm used to the sky with a hook!"