The appearance of relatively obscure Denver Nuggets rookie Bobby Jackson in Converse's "Stay True" campaign initially raised some eyebrows. Now, however, his unexpected TV endorsement debut is no longer a puzzle.
Jackson replaced Latrell Sprewell on short notice after the former all-star was dumped in December by both the Golden State Warriors and the North Reading, Mass., sneaker company for allegedly choking and threatening to kill his coach, P.J. Carlesimo.
Converse could live with Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman (shown here), who kicked a photographer in the crotch, but the choking sent the company in search of a replacement.
Paul Renner, the art director who helped create the ads at long-time Converse shop Houston Herstek Favat (which has since been purchased by Boston's Arnold Communications) said a spot stressing Sprewell's passion for the game was originally set to air. The Sprewell execution was replaced with the Jackson spot, which stresses family values and sportsmanship, Renner said. Officials at Converse did not return calls. --David Gianatasio