The Best NBA Player Commercials
Foot Locker should be paying me commission
You know what preseason basketball means — the return of commercials featuring NBA players! Hurray! To celebrate, let’s run down the best commercials featuring NBA players of all time. These rankings are based solely upon my opinion and therefore are objectively indisputable.
Kind of dark that Westbrook leads the league in causing parental neglect. REALLY dark to think that he takes pride in that. PITCH BLACK to think that he tells this to random strangers at fancy restaurants.
9. “X, like Xenopus”
If you haven’t tried to spell a word to someone with “X, like Xenopus,” waited for their inevitable confusion, and explained, “It’s a genus of frog,” you haven’t truly lived.
Several of these commercials were pretty good, and they’re only heightened by Exum’s excellent accent (although, given the way his injury-plagued career has turned out, they hit a little too close to home now).
8. Show and Tell
That is a Hall of Fame mean mug right there. This kid’s disappointment in Lebron is so immense. If I ever received a look like that, I’d shatter like a dropped mirror.
7. Short Memory
Foot Locker has a strong track record of NBA player commercials, as you can see from this list, but the punchline here with Scottie Pippen is *chef’s kiss* delectable.
This video is labeled “Part 1,” but I cannot for the life of me figure out if there was a part 2. Probably better to be left wondering than be disappointed.
6. The Block
I love the idea of Anthony Davis roaming around random suburbs looking for innocent kids to menace. No neighborhood hoop is safe! “MVP! MVP! MVP!”
5. Jingle Hoops
Some people get into the holiday spirit by watching claymation movies, while some start spinning their Mariah Carey playlist. I simply watch Jingle Hoops on repeat for an hour or two. Man, those sleeved jerseys were really, really sleeved. Sleeved is a bizarre-looking word, I need to stop typing it.
They made a sequel later with dribbling that’s rock-solid, too.
(Notice how intensely Wade does almost nothing here.)
4. Dropping Dimes
An absolute classic. Whenever you’re with any NBA fans (and why would you be hanging with anyone else?), there’s a 50% chance that someone will chant “droppin’ dimes, droppin’ dimes” at some point in the night.
Side note, putting adult heads on baby bodies is extremely unsettling and I wish no one would do it ever.
3. Uncle Drew commercials
Ah, innocent times. Before the flat earther stuff, the satanic plot stuff, and the general weirdness, Kyrie and a supporting cast of other ballers were starring in a series of surprisingly excellent commercials pretending to be geezers and geezerettes running the local courts. Reminiscent of Larry Johnson’s old Grandmama commercials for Converse, these commercials were successful enough to launch an honest-to-god movie released in actual movie theaters. It was way better than it had any right to be; sort of like Ted Lasso!
2. Father’s Day
So, so good. Hard to remember now, but the Ball patriarch DOMINATED sports discourse for way too long. It was very cathartic to hear Lonzo list off all his dad’s “support.” The best thing about this commercial is that all of Lonzo’s examples were 100% true.
Ok, so this is cheating a little, but could there be any other answer?
The mid-’90s saw the Chris Rock-voiced Lil’ Penny puppet take over the zeitgeist, becoming a cultural phenomenon. Lil’ Penny talked trash on the court, hung around with A-list celebrities, and stayed loyally thirsty for Tyra Banks. It (he?) even appeared on Oprah after co-authoring a book!
The Lebron/Kobe puppet commercials, released over a decade later, were direct descendants of Lil’ Penny. They were instant classics in their own right and reached vast levels of popularity. For some reason, the puppets didn’t look or sound anything like Kobe or Lebron, lived together, and pretty much just talked trash to each other all day. Unlike Lil’ Penny, Kobe and Lebron puppets pretty much only interacted with each other (and Lil’ Dez, of course) and poked fun at both their friendship and budding rivalry. You can also find some extremely NSFW spoofs online that take the humor in a decidedly ruder direction.
Truly superb usage of Mutombo’s Cookie Monster laugh and iconic finger wag. I was scared to throw anything for a month after watching this commercial.
Stars from Stars
I hear you thinking, “It’s not that funny,” and you’re not wrong. But for some reason, whenever my wife or I say we like ANYTHING, we just hold up our hand, fingers splayed, and deadpan, “Five stars.” It happens more than you would think.
Great comedic timing by the lady in this commercial. Really whiplashes you one way and then the other. I did some hard research (5 minutes of googling), and it appears that her name is Pinky Jones. She’s now a real estate agent in the greater LA area. So hit her up for your housing needs!
“The way I dunk on you is going to look unorthodoxed” is probably the most underrated trash talk in the history of trash talk.
Spurs HEB Commercials
There are a thousand of these of varying quality, and they need a shoutout just for the sheer quantity. You can trace the lineage of Spurs greats through the HEB commercial timeline. Tim Duncan is a better actor than you might’ve guessed.
Worst NBA Commercial: Those Jungle Cruise commercials
Watching this commercial (and there are others like it!) sucks the joy from my world. I feel like a Dementor just for sharing this with you. Maybe not the best time to ask, but please like, share, subscribe and/or comment. Sleeved. Weird.
I was wondering about the Mutombo block one but saw it in honorable mentions (should be top 3). My other fave are the playoff ones where David Blaine explains the tricks players use (especially Yao...or should I say Yaos)
Not even a mention of Chuck singing backup to Gladys Knight? 3 stars.