Those Poor NBA Players Just Want to Play, Says Jordan Brand

'Love the game,' says W+K spot

I hadn't finished not caring about the 1998-99 NBA lockout when this year's work stoppage made me not care all over again. Thirteen years ago, Nike ads played up fans' passion for the game gone AWOL. Now, we get this two-minute mini-epic from Nike's Jordan Brand (and Wieden + Kennedy in New York) featuring Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. We're told they "Love the game. No matter what," as they play against senior citizens, Orthodox Jews, and in a Beijing pickup game. It's a standout spot, exceedingly well realized. Man, I hate it. Are we supposed to feel sorry for these spoiled millionaire athletes because they can't take the court this year? Or celebrate their globetrotting roundball routine as proof of their passion for the sport? I call a foul—on players and management—for cheating die-hards of the game they love and depriving the NBA's nonwealthy workers of their wages. Not to mention the revenue lost by bars, restaurants, retailers, the travel industry, and media outlets. Though I'm sure in all cases, owners will courageously absorb the financial hit, and layoffs will nary cross their minds. Just do it: Start the damn season, if for no other reason than Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan needs to buy fuel for his swanky private jet, and we average folks don't want that surly sourpuss sitting next to us in coach.