Sneaker commercials were really with the sh!ts in the late ’90s & early 2000s. Every brand with a hoops division was trying to pump out legendary TV spots and honestly, many of them succeeded in doing so! All the big names were in the mix – Nike, Adidas, Reebok. Icons of basketball littered the airwaves to get the attention of prospectives consumers (remember people, we’re talkin’ pre-IG sponsored ads). Rappers and actors partnered with the NBA’s brightest stars to create some truly memorable commercials. Lets throw it back on this fine Thursday with a look back at a few of the hottest commercials we grew-up on, enjoy!
Allen Iverson; Reebok
There wasn’t anyone bigger (or smaller depending on perspective) than Allen Iverson in the NBA once Michael Jordan retired. Philly’s prodigal son inspired a generation of kids to be unapologetically real, and for that, we should all be grateful. The Question and Answer lines by Reebok are undoubtedly one of the most popular signature series ever released. If you’re older than 28 years old then you remember this A.I. x Jadakiss commercial with rhymes so slick they hurt. How many forced raps have ruined a commercial? Millions. This spot was so authentic and dope, sooo goood.
In this second commercial is basically a visual promise to Philly that Allen will try his hardest to be the best and make his team the best on some Rocky montage ‘ish.
Tracey McGrady; Adidas
In ’03 a legit argument existed… Kobe or T-Mac? Healthy McGrady was that good when his body acted right. The Magic/Houston star wrecked the league with his unstoppable offensive skillset (think the perfect modern guard before ‘modern’ was a thing) as he lit up team after team. His T-Mac line by adidas was one of the go-to signatures series in the early 2000s and he single handedly keep adidas Basketball alive after failed lines from the likes of Steve Francis and Gilbert Arenas (ain’t no one want Tim Duncan adidas shoes either). The T-Mac 2 and 3 in particular defined the line and had some of the best commercials around. The T-Mac 3 joint with Clipse (S/O to Pusha) playing in the background might be the best commercial of the era. Monologue game craayyyyy:
Kobe Bryant; adidas
Yep, Kobe Bean Bryant rocked with adidas upon entering the league. At the turn of the century Kobe owned multiple avenues of media from TV to music (yeah, Google that Kobe track lol) and everyone wanted a piece of him. Luckily for adidas Kobe delivered on the hype and their partnership started out strong. Multiple signature shoes, his own logo (one of the best ever) and a grip of TV spots. Young Kobe played into his youthfulness and love for the game. Every commercial just looked like he was having a blast; they made us want to kick it with Bean. Fro Kobe was a vibe ya’ll – check it out for yourself:
LeBron James; Nike
First and foremost RIP Bernie Mac. Secondly Nike came correct with the first LeBron commercial. The young man was about to take defenders to church and his collection of basketball gifts were (are) simply holy. Direct and to the point – these commercials just slapped. Nike nailed the “second coming” tone that LeBron’s ascension came along with. Classico.
The LeBron 2’s marketing and commercials centered around the Chamber Of Fear, unforgettable.
One commercial rules above them all… the 2001 spot by Nike directed by Paul Hunter (quick history lesson: Hunter directed “How Does It Feel” by D’Angelo, many Puffy videos and countless other high profile videos). The commercial made music out of dribbling while featuring a list of Nike athletes like Lamar Odom, Vince Carter, Jason Williams and Rasheed Wallace (AND street ballers); this friggin’ commercial had everyone trying to dribble flashy! It was so basic yet impactful – there’s definitely a sense of rhythm and music within basketball and Nike/Hunter bottled that energy into a perfect commercial.
Which one is your favorite? Be sure to tell us!!!