Foot Locker has been known to put out some great ads featuring NBA players in the past, but they may have outdone themselves with their latest.
It features incoming rookie (and, in all likelihood, top draft pick) Ben Simmons hanging out with and seeking advice from select members of this past year’s rookie class, including Karl Anthony-Towns, Devin Booker, and D’Angelo Russell. That last name is important.
While Russell had a decent first season with the Lakers, his rookie campaign was highlighted by some off-the-court drama he caused. The 20-year-old point guard became somewhat of a black sheep in the Los Angeles locker room after he filmed teammate Nick Young admitting to cheating on his fianceé, recording “artist” Iggy Azalea, and accidentally allowed the video to leak.
Following the incident, Russell’s teammates froze him out and he was forced to apologize publicly. Since then, he’s been the butt of countless jokes courtesy of Shaq, Mark Jackson and every person on the internet. It’s not something he’s going to live down anytime soon.
So, yeah, he might be a solid candidate for some “don’t do what I did” advice to those entering the league.
It’s a bold move for Foot Locker and Russell to poke fun about the incident in the latest ad — the timing of which isn’t ideal, considering Iggy just announced she’s calling off her engagement to Young — but it’s subtle and executed well enough that you won’t hear any complaints from me. Plus, it’s probably safe to say that certain members of the incoming class would be better off actually following Russell’s “advice.”
Overall, this is an excellent piece of advertising.