In "Bring Your Game," a five-minute Nike film that debuted during NBA telecasts on Christmas Day, a bunch of kids can't decide on their favorite player. So, like all kids facing this dilemma, they jet around the country to hang out with some of Nike's biggest basketball endorsers in a series of amusing vignettes by Wieden + Kennedy.
It's exactly like real life!
First up, they knock on Kevin Durant's door. "Hey, KD," one young fan begins, "there's a lot of great players right now, and that makes it kind of hard for us to pick a favorite. So we're gonna live with you a while to help us decide."
"That's a little weird," he replies, "but come on in. Close the door behind you."
Instead of a living room, they find themselves in a brick-walled gym. (Hey, it's KD's house. That's how he rolls.) True to form, Durant ferociously dunks on one of them, though the youngster receives a "Sorry-About-That Bag" as a consolation prize (with a cheeky KD poster inside).
More quirky meet-and-greet scenarios follow, with our heroic note-takers encountering Paul George, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis and Elena Delle Donne (with cute cameos from Serena Williams and Future.)
Some highlights include a 3 a.m. workout session with Bryant as a hoodied sensei-mentor ("Eight hours of training is nothing compared to a second of losing"), George's hot tub book club and fishing sessions (on a yacht), and several unwelcome helpings of King James' secret weapon: spirulina cake. A nod to Irving's math-tastic "Unexpected Move" commercial even factors into the equation.
The antics are anchored in the athletes' real-life playing styles, preparation routines and off-court interests. Bryant, for example, does like to meditate and takes a philosophical approach to the game. George is an avid fisherman. And James famously adjusted his diet to get into better shape.
And KD? Well, he dunks on your ass.
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa, the brisk-paced, immensely likable spot is a big hit on YouTube, approaching 4 million views in three days. It does a fine job of making Nike's superstars more relatable by presenting aspects of their personalities that both inform and transcend statistical achievement and on-court heroics.
"Basketball is undergoing a renaissance, a return to distinct personalities and vibrant style that mixes skill with originality," Nike explains. "Each member of Nike Basketball's family of athletes embraces this singular creative and competitive spirit, pushing the game to new places and proving that, when it comes to game-time dominance, there is no prescription."
Though spirulina cake helps, apparently.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Director: Rick Famuyiwa