SNEAKER WARS: The Greatest Hits In Basketball Commercials

Brandon Jennings


Under Armour’s Eric Ogbogu, an NFL journeyman, once famously and intimidatingly preached, “We must protect this house!“Now, it appears as though Under Armour is going after their competitor’s homes.

Once newcomers to the industry, they view themselves as a performance sports powerhouse. And they’re letting people know about it, beginning with their basketball rivals.

The attack began with Under Armour and Brandon Jennings debuting a t-shirt subtly attacking Kobe Bryant.

Then came the commercial, which takes jabs at Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Allen Iverson. As a collective, these four athletes represent or represented the three major shoe companies Under Armour looks to overtake: Nike, Reebok and Adidas.

First things first, Under Armour. You’ll need to up the quality of your commercials before you can fill the “Big Three’s” shoes. And find a better endorser than Brandon Jennings.

The shoe that started it all. The shoe was so controversial that the commercial didn't need to be. The NBA's banning of the shoe sparked a nation's curiosity. Oh, and Jordan's talent didn't hurt.

While not exactly a basketball-shoe ad, the Pump was and still is an on-court classic. As was this commercial…for a brief time. Reebok pulled the ad quickly after people complained it was dangerous and promoted death. I wonder why?

Nike - Michael Jordan and Mars Blackmon

A fictional character from the film She's Gotta Have It, Spike Lee's Mars Blackmon became the Air Jordans main pitchman in the late 1980s. It's gotta be the shoes! Or Spike's sweet hat.

Shaquille O'Neal drew comparisons to the all-time greats the moment he stepped foot on an NBA court. Reebok capitalised on the debate by grouping Shaq and a star-studded frontcourt lineup set to welcome him into the pantheon of great centres…with a catch.

This just in: Charles Barkley is not a role model. This commercial stirred much public debate and wouldn't be the first time Barkley created controversy. But you know what? This advertisement isn't turrible.

They just don't make them like they used to. The Kobe and LeBron puppets never stood a chance. Lil' Penny, voiced by Chris Rock, was awesome. As was this recent discovery: listen closely to the lyrics. They describe the actions taking place throughout the commercial.

Nike - Freestyle

Stomp meets the streets in this creative ad. Everybody from NBA to WNBA players to playground legends starred in this beat-producing anthem that spawned a generation of kids eager to imitate every move. Don't tell me you never tried dribbling with your knees.

An inspiring commercial, UW-Whitewater's wheelchair basketball player Matt Scott gives it to you straight: there are no excuses. Work hard. Take advantage of everything you have.

Get chills yet? This production infusing clips of the 2008 USA basketball team with Marvin Gaye's 1983 NBA All-Star Game performance was brilliant. As was the team's gold medal performance on the court.

Adidas - Derrick Rose and Slim Chin

Other than Kobe Bryant, Adidas has struggled finding a worthy basketball endorser. Times have changed. Last season's MVP quickly became their new poster boy. Add that guy from The Hangover, aka Slim Chin, and Adidas may be on to something.

Adidas - Dwight Howard and Slim Chin

Under Armour - The Next Will Come Through Us

The aforementioned Under Armour attack ad. Pay close attention for references to a 'king' (LeBron James), a 'superhero' (Dwight Howard), a 'snake' (Kobe Bryant) and a press conference about practice (Allen Iverson). I have to admit, pretty clever.

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