Aside from the games themselves, nothing so defines the NBA experience quite like the myriad of commercials that the host of companies like Nike and Adidas put together in order for us to somehow connect with our favorite players a little bit more closely. The Thunder players are popular candidates because each of them possess a certain quality that is unique to the NBA landscape. Here are my top 5 favorite commercials from last year:
(And by the way Nike, how you haven't come up with a commercial featuring Russell Westbrook just walking around in his post-game garb is beyond me. Get your act together.)
5. The local commercial: Norman Dealership
Oh how I love local commercials, and this one captures the beauty of it in all its, "Just read the cue card" awkwardness.
4. Durant and Westbrook are BIG
Yes, the NBA BIG commercials are a bit formulaic, but there's a reason why there is a formula - it works. And watching Westbrook dish to Durant for a dunk on the entire Lakers roster definitely 'works' for me.
3. "Where are the lenses?"
Yes, it's the standard ESPN spot where TV commentators find themselves in awkward positions with the players they cover. That's the superficial. Underneath that however is, I suspect, something more. The spot features Russell Westbrook and Jeff Van Gundy in a humorous exchange regarding Russ's love for lens-less glasses, but I do wonder if the pair's time together didn't yield something more substantial. Van Gundy is one of the media's rare supporters of Westbrook's kamikaze game because once upon a time Van Gundy had his own Westbrook-style player in Steve Francis, and Van Gundy freely admits that he ended up hurting his own prodigy by trying to fit Francis into a mold instead of letting him find his own way. I think Van Gundy has a certain affection for Westbrook as a player and a person, so it was cool to see them do this work together.
2. The backup plan.
The execution between Russell Westbrook and James Harden is money. Oh what might have been.
1. Kevin Durant: basketball never stops in OKC.
I think that just about everything that we know about Durant the person is reflected beautifully in this spot, from the Oklahoma City backdrop, to the Gospel music in the background, to his pursuit of any game he can find, and most importantly, to his ability to connect with people.
This commercial is from yesteryear, but let us never forget that Kevin Durant once had an alter-ego named "Velvet Hoop."