It's a cliche that musicians want to be athletes and athletes want to be musicians, but in the past week we've seen why that division typically holds strong. Last week, a video hit the wifi airwaves of James Harden singing "Harden Soul," a knowingly awful song put out as part of a Foot Locker ad campaign. It's a fairly standard track about how Harden is the only man who can show an unnamed woman (or maybe all women) a good time, and it's funny because he comes across as a self-involved dope who doesn't realize he should focus on basketball instead of a performance that can only charitably be called music.
But "Harden Soul" was mere prelude to "Harden Soul (Remix), (via SLAM)" in which Stephen Curry — seen in the original 30-second spot telling Harden not to sing — twists virtually every line in the song to tell its recipient that James is not for her, because only Steph can give her what she needs. It's even more ridiculous than Harden's version, because it creates an alternate world in which someone takes the song so seriously that he has to respond to it.
Any time an ad features a public figure, it builds the brand of both the product and the endorser. However, when something gets this ridiculous and so far afield from the company — these songs don't even refer to Foot Locker or anything to purchase at Foot Locker — it becomes much more about the player than anything else. Harden and Curry are telling us that they don't take themselves too seriously and like to have a good time. I challenge anyone to watch both videos and disagree.