Translation Raises Some ‘Banners’ in the Air for NBA’s #MLKDay Games

By Erik Oster 

Do you have next Monday off? Are you ready to watch some basketball?

Translation launched a “Banners” ad celebrating the NBA’s Martin Luther King Day broadcast games.

The 30-second ad features NBA legends Bernard King, Dominique Wilkins, Dikembe Mutombo and Vince Carter watching as barriers reflecting the NBA’s commitment to the shared values of unity and progress are raised. A voiceover featuring each of the players focuses on how basketball teaches “that greatness begins with respect,” “that progress embraces everyone” and “that our differences give us strength.”

The spot concludes with the last lesson that “because we have come so far, we know we can go even further,” leading into the “This Is Why We Play” tagline.

Translation’s 30-second spot acts as a low-key reflection advocating and aligning the brand with values related to diversity and inclusion. It’s refreshing that the spot concludes with a promise for further progress, which helps link the message to the league’s “MLKDay” broadcasts without coming across as too inauthentic.

Translation won agency of record duties for the NBA back in December of 2014 and introduced its “This Is Why We Play” tagline the following October. Some of the agency’s more recent notable work for the league include its “Streets” ad promoting the 2018 NBA Playoffs and the preceding year’s campaign featuring Shaquille O’Neal and Julius Erving.


Agency: Translation, LLC
Client: NBA
Campaign: “NBA Celebrates MLDK Day”

Steve Stoute: CEO/Founder
Andy Ferguson: Group Creative Director
Geoff Proud: Creative Director
Eduardo Petersen: Creative Director
Ben Howard: Art Director
Eugene Gao: Copywriter
Jared Leake: Account Director
Jordan Ofsevit: Account Supervisor
Matt deSimone: Assoc. Director, Project Management
Maria Elia: Business Affairs Manager
Miriam Franklin: Director of Content Production
Matt Flaherty: Executive Content Producer
Chan Ruanglek: Group Strategy Director
Shon Mogharabi: Strategy Director
Netta Dobbins: Strategist

Hoffman Bros Productions
Matt Hoffman: Director
John Beveridge: Executive Producer
Bad English: Producer
Helen Urriola: Production Supervisor
David Wilson: Director of Photography

Lost Planet
Bruce Hermann: Editor
Steven San: Miguel Assistant Editor
Krystn Wagenberg: Executive Producer
Casey Cayko: Producer

Black Hole
Felix Cabrera: Sr. Producer
Tim Farrell: Flame Artist / VFX
Isabel Gomez: Flame Assistant
Reginald Butler: GFX – Designer / Animator
Andre Sam: GFX – Designer / Animator

Color Collective
Alex Bickel: Colorist

Audio Post: HEARD CITY
Dan Flosdorf: Mixer
Andi Lewis: Producer
Sasha Awn: Executive Producer

Victor Magro: Composer
Maxwell Gosling: Executive Producer