Best and Worst of NBA Stars in TV Commercials This Season
Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports
The association's players have no shortage of time in the spotlight, and—thanks to a few television ads—are injected into our lives even on off-days. Behind the camera—just like they do on the court—the NBA has its studs and its duds.
Here, we'll break down the best and worst of NBA stars in their respective TV spots and determine just what it is that makes them so great. Because these guys are in the entertainment business, after all.
Good: Kevin Durant
We're all familiar with how versatile Kevin Durant is as a player. This year, however, we're learning that versatility translates beyond the basketball court.
KD's Sprint commercial is more or less brilliant. In case you've been abroad or under several rocks for the last four months, Durant portrays a middle-class family's (average-sized) husband/father who has morphed into Kevin Durant himself after watching extensive Sprint NBA mobile coverage.
The more hard-to-find joke in here is that KD's "shrunken" pajamas fit similarly to Russell Westbrook's everyday attire.
In another ad campaign for Foot Locker and Nike, our nice-guy perception of Durant is flushed down the toilet.
In the 30-second clip, Durant is part-time cop/nicest player in the NBA—at least according to everyone but KD. As we find out by the ad's end, KD is not nice.
In KD's newest commercial for Gatorade, the Oklahoma City Thunder scorer suffers terrible nightmares of not being able to posterize Dwyane Wade.
In preparation of their real-life matchup, and to better his chances of putting D-Wade on a poster, Durant fuels up with various Gatorade products and promptly jams it home all over Wade—right when the camera cuts to the Miami Heat guard waking up from a similar nightmare.
Did the dunk really happen? Did the Gatorade work? Is KD really not nice? I guess we'll never know.
Bad: Jeremy Lin
For a player as polarizing and fun as the man who had us pleading Linsanity, Jeremy Lin's ad game could use some work.
Some could say it's ironic that a 24-year-old with under 100 career starts and an injury history playing on a $25 million contract is the spokesman for the "sure thing" of car companies. But I won't go there.
Instead, I'll just point out the obvious. It's boring. For 30 seconds, we get to watch Lin drive his super-exciting Volvo, smile and remind us—because we all forgot—that his rise to NBA fame was unexpected.
For a guy who seems as fun as Lin, this ad seems a bit vanilla. Hopefully his commercial performance will soon catch up to his basketball performance of late, which has been especially outstanding since March 1.
Better: Cliff & Chris Paul
What's better than Chris Paul? A Chris Paul twin—with a mustache—who was born to assist you whenever you're in need.
The tale of the separated-at-birth Paul twins is truly captivating. Both were destined for lives of assisting others; Chris, of course, on the hardwood and Cliff in everyday life. Cliff's overall kind-heartedness led him to a career as a State Farm agent, naturally.
The inevitable meet-up between the two acted as the ad's send-off and was uniquely adorable. Sort of how you'd imagine the interaction between long-lost twins would go—or sort of how you'd expect Chris Paul to react upon seeing himself with glasses and lip fur.
Kudos, State Farm, Cliff and Chris.
Worse: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony's reputation certainly did not need video footage of him dominating little kids on the court. His Kids Foot Locker ad was just the kind of fuel his haters needed to seal the selfish label over the New York Knicks star.
Okay, not really.
The commercial just isn't a good look for 'Melo. But in the end, I guess posting up a 10-year-old and swatting away a shot that was launched from the height of his shins was A-okay, because, as he says, "I just love the game."
Best: Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin's Kia Optima Time Travels campaign is about as good as it gets when it comes to NBA player ads.
Whether he's trying to get little Blake to work on his foul shots, keeping his former self away from the gridiron, motivating the high schooler to hit the weights, reminding him to never shy away from a dunk job or just protecting that auburn skin from the sun rays, the 24-year-old version of Griffin never ceases to be hilarious.
Well done, Blake. Now seriously, go practice your free throws. A lot.
Worst: Kris Humphries
Thanks to E!, we're all familiar with how Kris Humphries is perceived in the public spectrum. As we saw in recent Foot Locker ads, apparently Humphries is too.
With help from another underwhelming acting performance by Houston Rockets star James Harden, the Brooklyn Nets role-player-turned-castoff does a decent job of playing the part-dumb-jock, part-frat-bro character we all associate with the former Mr. Kardashian.
Unfortunately for Humphies' acting career, it's a character no one seems to care for.
"Yo, is that time machine done yet?" and "Dope" don't exactly portray Hump in the most intellectual way possible, and the ad itself doesn't attempt to make a whole lot of sense.
Humphries, whose minutes have dipped down to 19 from 35 a year ago, may need a side-gig to fall back on in the near future. Unfortunately it doesn't look as if acting is in the cards.
Follow me on Twitter at @JSDorn6.