The Top 50 NBA Commercials of All Time

mars blackmon

In the Spring of 2007, I was just a young pup in this NBA blogging world. Since then, I have accumulated literally dozens of readers and made untold tens of dollars writing about the NBA, but back then the only people reading this blog were me and Drop Dead Fred. (He didn’t even like it … I just spammed his Gmail account with links to my posts.)

Then, on April 4, 2007, I did a post called “The Top 50 NBA Commercials of All Time” that got linked to from Henry Abbott’s new ESPN version of TrueHoop and a cavalcade of other NBA blogs that probably don’t even exist anymore and, like, 40,000 people showed up. Since my previous high in any day was somewhere south of 4 unique users, it was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, within the year I switched hosting companies and perhaps-due-to-nonpayment (who remembers really?), I lost pretty much all my old content in the transfer. It seemed like a bummer at the time, but honestly the commercial thing and like three other posts were probably the only not completely terrible things I ever did. Still, losing stuff sucks.

HOWEVER, through the miracle of the a tech-smart friend of mine, I was recently able to recover some stuff. And so, mostly because I want to put it back in my archives, I’m re-posting it as it was originally posted verbatim in April, 2007. (Thus, forgive the omission of any spots from the last three years that warrant inclusion.)

Additionally, this may as well be the formal launch of “The NBA Commercial Project,” which will be an attempt to gather links to video for every NBA commercial ever made. We’ll start with just these 50 and build on that. And that’s where I’ll need your help. Head over there and drop links to videos in the comments.

Just do it (wocka, wocka, wocka).

Check the full, original Top 50 after the jump.

[Written on April 4, 2007]

This needs to be prefaced by saying these are only the best that can be found on YouTube. Meaning…No Grandmama, no Nique Pump ads, no Bird/Magic Converse, no “Grant Hill Drinks Sprite,” no Moses Malone rebounding, and, believe it or not, no Derrick Coleman British Knights spots.

Even so, I’m sure there are some glaring omissions. Let me know what I missed.

Now excuse me while I finish my Gatorade, put on my Nikes, and log-on to ESPN on my T-Mobile phone while I head to McDonald’s.

(If you have any audio trouble, try toggling the volume icon on the lower right corner of each entry. If that doesn’t work, just re-load the whole page and you should be good.)

50. Play it Again, Grant

This is only here because of how amazing it is to remember that these guys were both once about as good as it got in their respective positions. Unfortunately, Grant’s ankles fell apart and Dan Patrick turned into a giant douchebag.

49. Kobe’s 81

Looks like he had a pretty good night.

48. AI’s Slow Spin

This loses points for helping popularize the once-underground and cool, and now everywhere and obnoxious And 1 dribbling phenomenon.

47. Dancing Gheorghe

This is just a teaser for the Gheorghe to come later.

46. Timmy’s Delight

[2010 UPDATE: This was a cartoon spot with Timmy and Rapper’s Delight playing, but can’t find it in English. Here’s this some-other-language-version though to give you the gist. And here’s the JWill one from the same series. There was a KG one, too, I think.]

Duncan shows more emotion in this 30-second cartoon than he has in his entire NBA career.

45. 100-Foot Rim

Probably not that great all things considered, but I’m giving out bonus points for it being a dope shoe and the early-90s CGI.

44. Big Slam

[2010 UPDATE: Not even sure what I was talking about … this is a Pepsi Big Slam Shaq one though, even if it’s not great.]

The Big Cameo.

43. Spike and Timmy

“Look at the Ugly Knuckleball Action.”

42. TMac’s Tall Tale

Could have been better, but a good effort.

41. Kobe’s Matrix Dunks

It’s almost hard to believe this is even the same guy that wears #24.

40. Jugador Mas Valioso

I was trying to stay away from ads for the actual NBA sponsored by the NBA itself, NBC, ABC or TNT because there are just too many of them and most of them are boring, but when you put a guy who can barely speak English into a spot where the whole premise is him speaking Spanish, you’re making the list.

39. Slam

This is here only because of the little kid and the dunk over Zo.

38. The Greatest

I could have made this with Powerpoint and Cassio’s “My First Keyboard.” Goes to show how easy your job was when MJ was hawking your product. This probably won’t be the last you see of him.

37. Tastefully Done

Not sure why, but watching this one is when I feel the oldest.

36. Don’t Walk

Could of been done a lot better, but making fun of Patrick Ewing earns you points.

35. Magic’s 7-UP Tricks

Think he slept with her?

34. Check

I don’t care if you have a whole army of businessmen, girls in bikinis, fat construction workers and Mexican migrant workers….You’re not stopping The Kid.

33. Yo, Yao

Mocking foreigners is always a good time.

32. Really Wasn’t About the Hat

[2010 UPDATE: Can’t find the hat one anymore … Here’s some outtakes though]

Chuckster at his best.

“Is this your dad?”

31. King Kong McGrady

King Kong meets Gulliver’s Travels.

30. Godzilla vs. Barkley

Good luck with that, Big Zill.

29. Can I Kick It?

This is the poor man’s version of that Tiger Woods golf ball juggle commercial. Pretty impressive for a Canuck point guard, though.

28. Dwyane vs. Flash

Do whatcha do.

27. Daruis & Q

Great song + head pounds = #27.

26. Agent Zero

There was 0 percent chance that this wasn’t making the list.

25. Frozen Moment

This one was better at the time than it is now. However……

The Lil Penny remix still holds up just fine. (Don’t worry, more LP to come.)

24. Swingers Dirk

[2010 UPDATE: The Vlade one is still on YouTube … and probably better anyway]

All these Trophy Love spots were pretty good. This was my favorite. Here’s the ones with JKidd, Nash, Vlade, and Manu & Tony.

23. Umi Says

Mos Def, extended edition (the Jeter appearance cost this one some points).

22. The Glory of The Mustache Days

Click here for more info on the history of the NBA moustache.

21. AI and Jada

Jada kills this Trackmasters sneaker squeak beat.

The A6 Remix, this time with an verse from AI

20. One on One

If Kobe would just embrace the dark side, everyone would respect him a lot more.

19. Not a Role Model

He always was shy.

18. Gheorghe Muresan Cologne

Screw Scorsece, I still can’t believe the Academy overlooked an Oscar for My Giant.

17. That’s a 90-footer

CGI at its best.

16. The Shirt

Exactly what we were all thinking.

15. Zeke the Thief


14. Coulda Dunked … Shoulda Dunked

Three more MJ appearances for the price of one.

13. Nationwide Basketball Society

Easily Diesel’s best performance since Curb Your Enthusiasm. But most of these Ali G/TNT spots were pretty great. Here are most of the rest.

12. The Second Coming

You know it’s good when it convinces you to enjoy a Dip Set track.

The “Kobe Being Kobe” version is 10x better though.

11. Fun Police

[2010 UPDATE: After finding the Cherokee Parks one, this definitely should have 7th. Sincere apologies.]

Unfortunately, these are probably the worst two in the Fun Police series. If I had the better ones in front of me this is probably in the Top 5. Step your game up, YouTube.

UPDATE: Thanks to Sam for hooking us up with a link to the better Fun Police spots. “Your facial expressions when you dunk are VERY limited.”

10. Nasty Dunk

An ad with the Four Best Centers Ever and one of the most hilarious catch phrases of all time gets you an automatic bid to the Top 10.

9. Freestyle

Extended edition. Great stuff.

8. Mars

Money … it’s gotta be the shoes.

This, you cannot do.

What’s the over/under on Spike, 4?10??

7. The LeBrons

“Dunk Contests are Bourgeois”

“You Think Michael Trained in the Pool?”

The First Season

6. Like Mike

If this song isn’t in your head for the rest of the day, please burn your Social Security card and leave my country immediately. You’re not wanted here.

5. Lil Penny

The “Super Bowl Party” is basically the “We Are The World” of sports commercials.

Double Action.

Lil Penny Classic.

The Secret Service couldn’t guard me.

4. Johnny Kilroy

This version (and the video quality) is pretty horrible. Go here for the proper edition with Steve Martin and “The Popcorn Tape.”

3. Roswell Rayguns

I’m just gonna lump these together so they don’t monopolize the Top 10.

Snoop and George Clinton’s Funk Ship.

Dr. Funk.

2. The Showdown

With MJ’s sweater and Bird’s backhair, it’s really hard to leave this out the #1 slot.

1. XXI

On the other hand…’Nuff said.

11 thoughts on “The Top 50 NBA Commercials of All Time”

  1. If I’m not mistaken, the original Cherokee Parks commercial had him being told he was too white to be on the fun police…. and then he turns to Googs and says “what about him… he’s white?”

    Someone back me up on that… cuz I think that’s what made the commercial

  2. This list has a short memory.
    1) Reebok – Lamar Mundane (money) 1987
    2) Reebok – John Wooden, Russell, Chamberlain and his dad mentoring Shaq by reciting “If” 1993
    3 Converse – Magic & Bird go one on one – Weapons 1986
    4) Reebok – “You got the love” #2 high school tryouts…1992
    5) Reebok – “You got the love” #1 NBA shirts & skins…1992
    6 Jason Williams & Randy Moss – high school and pro highlights set to Dukes of Hazzard theme
    7 Air Jordan 1 – banned – 1985
    8 Converse – “Hey, Dr. J where’d you get those moves are you wearing magic shoes?” 1978
    9 Nike – Barbershop…Iceman – “one thang I could do…is finger roll”
    and probably some others

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