Just to clarify, participating in this discussion doesn’t mean any of us enjoyed those idiotic commercials. Does it? Because those ads made me hate the NBA marketing department on a nightly basis this spring.
Marketing the NBA Playoffs should be impossible to screw up. You have some of the biggest superstars in sports coming together to battle in a sport where individuals can single-handedly change everything, and over the course of six weeks, those superstars can single-handedly change the way we remember NBA history. It’s not always that dramatic, but it feels that way (especially when you add a few soft piano keys to the mix). And yet…
With one stupid talking basketball, the NBA did their best to remind everyone it’s just a game. These might as well be cartoons we’re cheering, and the people selling them are a bunch of tone-deaf suits up in Manhattan (the only people on earth who could overthink a marketing campaign for a product that markets itself). ‘Course, it’s just a talking basketball … Maybe I’m the asshole.
In any case, if I could talk to any basketball from the NBA Finals, it’d be the ball from Game Seven of the 1994 NBA Finals. Obviously, the whole interview would center on John Starks. “He just… He wouldn’t stop touching me.” And then a long pause. “No matter what I did, he just kept coming back for more.”
“I took a lot of abuse that night. What kind of person just keeps shooting on a night like that? I mean it was clear he wasn’t ready for the moment, but by the end of it, he seemed like a full-on sociopath. He was numb. I was numb. We were all shellshocked. Why didn’t someone step in???”
Then the camera would cut to a series of missed Starks jumpers, with teammates and coaches looking on dazed, and finally, the Rockets celebrating while Starks walks off the court. Cut back to the ball.
“I felt like a hockey puck when it was all over. Just awful.”
Other than Starks in ’94? I’d like to talk to the basketball from Game One of the 2001 Finals, when Iverson carried Philly to a win in overtime and did this to Tyronn Lue. I wouldn’t want to ruin the memories of that game by reducing that game to one of the NBA’s stupid commercials, but a talking basketball making fun of Tyronn Lue seems like something that should happen ASAP.
Andrew Sharp writes Monday-Friday for SBNation.com. He lives and works in Washington D.C. and one day dreams of owning the Wizards, just so he can personally fire Andray Blatche.
—Photo AP/David J. Phillip
More from “Talking To Talking Balls Week” at the Good Men Project:
Charlie Zegers: Shades of Willis Reed
Ryan Jones: Zeke’s Ankle
David Matthews: The Logo
Nick Mancini: The ‘94 Knicks
Yago Colás: Nasty Infinities
Max Ornstein: Walt Clyde
Eric Freeman: Smush and Kwame?