During the 1998-99 lockout, Nike put out several now-classic ads poking fun at our need for the game. Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee were (and are) more famous than most of us, but their passion at a driveway game of HORSE or little Regina Miller's middle school game wasn't so different from our own. Without the NBA, everyone has to find a way to keep up with their hoops habit.
In an unsurprising move, Jordan Brand (a Nike offshoot, of course) has put together an ad campaign for 2011's work stoppage. In the spot, Heat guard Dwyane Wade(notes), Hornets point Chris Paul(notes) and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony(notes) play basketball wherever they can, whether it's at a senior league in Miami, an inter-parish competition in New Orleans, or a friendly competition between hipsters (wearing skinny jeans) or Orthodox Jews (wearing yarmulkes) in New York. Oh, and then they all meet up in China. The real money lies overseas, you know.
It's a great ad, and not just because it's funny to see this trio dominate in goofy settings. At its heart, this spot is about the love of each city for the sport and the passion of the players who (usually) get paid to suit up for NBA teams. The humor is really just there to make the 90 seconds more watchable. The most important thing about the campaign is shared appreciation of basketball.
OK, fine, maybe the chubby kid near the end has a greater purpose than just being funny. Someone get him a sitcom, stat. He's going places.