Kyrie Irving is poking fun at some of his own less conventional beliefs in a new Nike ad from R/GA Los Angeles.
The NBA point guard, playing in his first season for the Boston Celtics after six with the Cleveland Cavaliers, stars in the 60-second spot for his namesake Kyrie IV sneakers.
The meta scenario opens with a melodramatic black-and-white close-up of Irving’s face. But it doesn’t take long for him to get bored with the voiceover quoting Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”—as read, it turns out, by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Irving storms off, and the camera follows him as he breaks the fourth wall and takes a stroll through a much different kind of production—random, rapid-fire and playful, with an ’80s-style boom box, some kind of festive octopus floating in the background, and a man in a furry suit riding a skateboard around on a half-pipe. “Now, this is more what I had in mind,” says Irving—endorsing an hodgepodge perspective that’s apt for an ad billed as directed by the deliberately eccentric and possibly crazy man himself.
Namely, there’s a cheeky nod to Irving’s mind-bending flat-earth theories, and a suggestion that the new shoes will let Irving (and presumably anyone who buys them) levitate. A cameo from Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum and a tension-building performance by the Boston Philharmonic pitch in to make the commercial a full-throated celebration of Bean Town—while the Nike team also manages to work in a plug for Irving’s vegan diet.
The orchestral angle can’t but evoke another musical duet—Irving’s performance with Questlove in January for the Kyrie 3 version of the shoe. The mini body double also recalls Russell Westbrook’s tiny hype man from Nike’s Jordan Brand in 2016.
Regardless, it’s an amusing little trip—even if many would have preferred it to be more clear he’s been joking about the shape of the planet. But at least this way he can at least pretend he’s still trolling everybody.
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