The art of NBA commercial acting

If the four Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards, game-winning shot against New Orleans and Skills Challenge victory weren’t enough – Damian Lillard’s national profile has taken another star turn with the debut of the Champs Sports/adidas “Adicolor” spot.

It’s a big deal because Lillard isn’t just hot with the hoop heads anymore – he’s now selling really loud adidas clothing to a worldwide consumer base. But still, is he the best Blazer commercial actor of all time?

Granted, in this commercial the range is limited to looking into the camera and adjusting his jacket. But facial features have to take some acting skill. Just look at this Clyde Drexler commercial (made during his Houston days, mind you) and notice the brilliant looks of bewilderment throughout.

Neither Lillard nor Drexler had a speaking part. So, in this case, Bill Walton owns them. The voice inflexion, the knee-to-bench move, the toss of the oversized Reebok at the end and the sincere execution of the script that tries to convince us that if the pump existed in Walton’s days then his career would’ve continued  … wow, that’s a lot of acting going on right here.

Still, nothing compares to Brandon Roy’s Nike spot. What’s not to love? It’s simply done, believable and it casts him in the light as the boy-next-door who loves basketball so much he hoops in the snow. Unlike the Adicolor spot that oozes swagger and a “you-wish-you-were-me” air, and the Reebok Pump that employed a retired guy four years out of the game to sell a shoe, this ad does all the right things. There’s the close-up of a star on the rise (at that time) standing in front of a white background and he’s telling a personal story that any hoop head can relate to.  The “snowing like crazy” line delivered as he throws his head back = genius.

I didn’t grow up in the Pacific Northwest and I wasn’t a fan of Roy but I still remember this commercial. No wonder you all loved B-Roy so much.



Scroll to top