On Christmas Day, the NBA returned after a 5-month lockout put the entire 2011-2012 season in jeopardy. The league’s shortened 66-game season kicked off with some very exciting games on Sunday which included a Chicago Bulls last-second come-from-behind win at the L.A. Lakers, perennial losers the L.A. Clippers looking unstoppable with the addition of point guard Chris Paul, and the Miami Heat avenging last season’s championship series by drowning the Dallas Mavericks. Also, we had Kevin Durant’s disgusting shoes for some reason.
Of course, advertisers couldn’t be happier that America’s second most-popular professional sports league is back. Aside from media buyers rejoicing that prime time sports will continue well into 2012 after the NFL season comes to a close, creative types are giving a nod to the NBA. Above, NBA commentators Bill Walton, Steve Kerr, Kenny Smith, Spero Dedes and Jon Berry star in a new spot for Google+ from GS+P. The spot is one of three highlighting Google+’s “Hangouts” feature (the other two were created internally by Google Creative Labs), a critically adored but oft-ignored feature of the social network that has lost considerable buzz since its launch five months ago. Aside from the “Big Red-Head” and his buddies doing a very nice job commenting on an backyard game of hoops, the campaign features a spot that uses “Hangouts” to watch the Muppets rock out to David Bowie and Queen’s classic collaboration, “Under Pressure.” Like The Muppets (currently in theaters), it’s well-worth a viewing.
Also, we would be remiss not to give some mention to TNT’s epic opening day promo, “Forever,” which was directed by Sedna Films’ Drew Watkins. The above spot delighted NBA fans across the county (Kiran and I included) by pairing today’s superstars with legends of the game. Above, you’ll see the impossible become a reality, including Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant running out on court together, Brandon Jennings playing alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Michael Jordan fist-bumping Derrick Rose to Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ track “Live Forever.” Considering how upset and jaded NBA fans got over the course of the lockout, it’s stunning that TNT of all things was able to remind us why we love this game so much.