Sunday, March 30, 2008

Top 10 [Sports] Commercials of All-Time

Be honest. When Jason Richards of Davidson missed that desperation 30-footer at the end of the game, you died a little inside. The biggest star of March Madness is gone; and if history is correct, the Final Four and Championship Game will be anti-climatic. *Sigh* Well done, Mr. Curry. Well done.

But there's good news! While you're waiting for the Final Four to begin in nearly a week, you can watch Kevin Love throw outlet passes into the rim; watch the fan-made video for my current favorite song (despite it being a year old and a remake of an 80's Caucasian-loved song); or you can read my list of the top 10 sports commercials of all-time. The criteria is that they have to depict sports activity; and must have at least one professional athlete in it. So while it was tough, the Lebrons are not on the list. Although, this philosophical gem from Wise Lebron is a classic in itself.
(And yes, I will be biased to basketball/His Airness)

#10: Allen Iverson Teaches the Crossover

This series only has two videos, but the first one (poor quality) diagrams the move that transformed the NBA forever. The hesitation crossover, still once frowned on by basketball stiffs, is now taught worldwide in basketball camps. If anything, no one can deny AI's contribution to dribbling; even though it was taught to him by a teammate at Georgetown. The evolution move in the above video was quickly banned by Mr. Stern and The Boys, but the initial ad is the manifestation of a basketball move now essential to perimeter success. While it may not be impressive to look at now, everyone went out attempting to perfect his or her crossover dribble so it was respectable when compared to The Answer's.

#9: The "Joga Bonito" (Play Beautiful) Series

I'm not a huge fan of soccer, but I know sick moves when I see them. The video above is a compliation of the commercials Nike aired about three years ago. To me, the one spotlighting Ronaldinho is the best. The home video of him that his commercial is based on is the foundation of his legend in the soccer world. Legend has it that he scored 26 goals as a kid in an indoor soccer game. With the moves I've seen in the brief moments I've watched soccer; I believe it.

#8: Kobe Adidas Commerical With Sick Practice Dunks

Whenever I see this commercial, it always begs the question: Why is Kobe no longer in dunk contests? Whatever. Anyway, the dunks he attempts and nails were pre-Jason Richardson and J.R. Smith. You can tell how old this is because Kobe still sports that hideous mini-fro. The different dunks (in terms of if he can actually do them on a regulation rim) are: doubt it, yes, yes, yes, yes, no way in the history of human beings elevating above the rim.

#7: Jordan vs. Jordan

This commercial shows the eternal battle between the young, shinobi with limitless potential; pitted against his older, wiser self. What catches my eye the most is the incredible perfection—at 39 years old—of MJ's turnaround fadeaway. The trash talk (which people overlook when discussing #23) is great. Much better than the commercial after next on this list.

#6: The Penny Hardaway & Li'l Penny Series

The reason why the Li'l Penny series makes the cut and the Lebrons series doesn't is because most Penny commercials had him doing something basketball-related. The Lebrons only have one dunk contest in their series. And while there hasn't been anything that good since "Sanford & Son," it's not enough to qualify for this top 10. This was Penny Hardaway at his best. Before the microfracture knee surgery, when his athleticism and talent met at an incredible apex. Chris Rock as Li'l Penny was the perfect compliment to Hardaway's easy-going demeanor. This was the Dwyane Wade commercials before Dwyane Wade became a superhero. I hope for his sake that he doesn't suffer the same fate.

#5: Nike Sparq Training Series

I know this series is only one two and a half commercials deep, but this has the makings of a classic collection of ads. Not because of the number of athletes; but because of the sheer confusion some of the athletes create with their trash talk. For example, What does being quick have to do with smelling like french toast? And in the latest ad, outfielder Matt Holliday says that, "[His] strong apologizes for making your strong look like cottage cheese." Is this someone sort of Nike Jedi Mind Trick? Am I suppose to be intimidated...or distracted? Either way, I got strong all day.

#4: "Be Like Mike"

"Sometimes I dream...that he is me..." While most of us don't know the lyrics beyond that first line, the commercial still resonates with all of us. It was the one that cemented his Nike commercial legacy. It was the embodiment of all our hoop dreams. It let us be free to acknowledge His Airness as an icon, regardless of age. If I could be like Mike...

#3: Tiger Woods Amazing Golf Club Trick

For this 30 seconds, you see just how dominant Mr. Woods is at his sport. Granted, there are others that have done the same feat; but this was the first video of this to surface. And, well, it's Tiger.

#2: Nike Freestyle Basketball Commercial

This is the evolution that the AI crossover commercials had envisioned. Various NBA and streetball players showcasing there talents with the rock. From absurd handles of 6'10" guys (Lamar Odom), to the reason Jason Williams earned the name, "White Chocolate." The choreography of this commercial was so good, BET decided to frequent it on "Rap City: The Bassment." Insane handles.

#1: Air Jordan XVI Commercial featuring Mos Def, "Umi Says" as the theme.

This commercial didn't show much of His Airness; but the grace and swagger of MJ was on showcase nonetheless. At the end of the commercial, he enters the gym as if, like in professional reality, he's coming to save the day. It doesn't hurt that Mos's heavenly track (which, is about the uplifting of Black people) is the theme for this ad. "I ain't no perfect man. I'm tryna do the best that I can; with what it is I have..." just seems to be hypocritically correct. Most view Jordan as, "The perfect [basketball player]," and what it is he has is what those with hoop dreams aspire to attain.

So there you have it. Agree or agree to disagree—you decide. One thing that goes without denial is that whomever is in charge of Nike's commercial themes should be making more money than a pagan holiday.


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