Coming off of the 2022 WNBA title, the Las Vegas Aces enter the 2023 season somehow even stronger than they were when they lifted the trophy.
Candace Parker, a two-time WNBA champion, two-time MVP, 7-time All-Star, and one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood, signed with the Aces in the offseason, and they rounded out their bench with one of the best role players in the league in Alysha Clark. Off the court, the Aces are taking sizable steps as a franchise in building out their infrastructure. They just built and introduced a brand new state of the art practice facility, simultaneously pushing up the floor and ceiling of franchise expectations.
The Aces are expected to put all of their star pieces together quickly, thanks in part to the synergy Parker has with star point guard Chelsea Gray after a half decade together with the Los Angeles Sparks. That’s something they’ve picked back up quickly in camp, but Gray isn’t the only Aces guard Parker’s developing chemistry with.
Parker and 2022 All-WNBA First Team member Kelsey Plum have been quickly building a bond in camp that is helped by some of their work together off the court as part of Google’s NBA/WNBA “Okay I See You” shorts and, most recently, the “Greatest Watch Party” campaign.
We caught up with Plum ahead of the spot’s release to dive into her experience shooting the campaign, teaming up with Parker on and off the court, and more.
How did you first start working with Google and what has that partnership been like for you?
I’ve resonated a lot with them and the work that they’re doing particularly in women’s sports and growing the game. I’m just super grateful that they thought of me when they thought of a WNBA player for their partnership. I’m really proud to be a part of what they’re doing what they’re continuing to do.
It feels like you, Candace, or A’ja (Wilson) are on my TV screen every 30 minutes. What has the experience been seeing that star power from on the court play out and grow into this star power off of it?
It’s tremendous. To be able to be in a commercial with Candace, it kind of gave me goosebumps. I remember us filming and just laughing like “what is life?” and it speaks volumes to who Google is. They understand their investment, they understand the future is women and women’s sports and Gen Z. They’re kind of ahead of everyone else and it’s really cool to be part of it.
You’ve obviously been in a commercials before and been a brand partner, but this feels like kind of hitting a new height. Like this is running during the playoffs, it’s running constantly… what does that sort of gravity feel like?
It’s all about the partnership. Watching the commercial yesterday is just so cool, it’s very inclusive. Like, who doesn’t love watching the playoffs? Who doesn’t love watching exciting basketball? You’re bringing in Druski, and influencers, and Diamond (DeShields), Candace, and me… bigger than the commercial note, the partnership of what they’re doing to connect the game to fans. Like, I know 99 percent of fans that watch basketball are unable to go to games. So to feel connected in a different way is super important to grow the game and to make people feel like they’re a part of a player’s journey. A part of Google bringing easy access to fans through their technology and platform. It’s been really cool.
That’s such a great point in being able to showcase personality to people who aren’t physically there, I hadn’t thought of that. I have to ask, how do you know what dance moves you’re breaking out for the shoot? Are you running through like six or seven and settled on one or how’d that go?
I didn’t know it was happening! I kind of just got thrown into it at the last minute. I don’t even think it was part of the original plan and they were just like “hey, Kelsey, can you do this?” so I just went with the beat. I asked for Too Short, that kinda gets me going.
Wait, which Too Short song?
Oh man, what song was it? I can’t even remember.
It’s gotta be Blow the Whistle.
YES! It was definitely Blow the Whistle! The energy just kinda carried me, you had Diamond and Candace behind the Pixel helping me out, it was awesome.
What was the shoot process like? That environment seems so dope. Was the final product pretty emblematic of what it was like in person?
Nah, it was very real. What you see… the energy, the people, it was like a legit party. That’s what made it so fun. There was like this random grandfather dancing behind me in that scene. There were genuine W fans there. It was actually filmed in a house, so there wasn’t all this movie magic, this was genuinely like cuts being taken on a Pixel. Like, you see the clarity and the precision of the camera, and that’s all real because they filmed it in a way where it felt like you didn’t have to do anything other than be yourself.
What was your favorite part of the experience overall, even if it didn’t make the final cut?
Meeting Druski was cool, but being around the Google team, there’s so many people behind the scenes that make things happen and I don’t think they get the love that they should. From the content team to lighting, sound, and the guys behind the camera make my life easy, all I need to do is throw a couple of dances in there and smile.
Just from hearing you talk before, I know you’re very much someone who likes to talk to kind of anybody. What was it like connecting with everyone from Google at the shoot?
There’s a familiarity and that speaks a lot to Google and how they are as a company. Happy people make really good workers, our coach (Becky Hammon) talks about that all the time, happy players make good players. You see that in the way everyone is excited to be there, ready to work, and locked in. Just very present. I’ve shot with them multiple times and there’s plenty of familiar faces, but what stands out to me is that not only is everyone uber talented, there’s a lot of camaraderie there, which you don’t really see. That’s not something you can really fake. I think that’s a bit unique for such a massive company.
That’s really awesome to hear, I love that. Last thing I want to wrap up on; I know you’re a huge preparation person. I see the work and time you put in before games, I’ve watched your shooting routine. Do you do anything in routine or prep for a shoot?
Oh gosh, don’t take yourself too seriously, you know? This is all Cadillac problems in the moment. I just try to have a lot of fun, bring energy, have a lot of joy when I’m there and just continue to reiterate that any given day, these types of opportunities can be gone. So I have to enjoy it in the moment and make the most of it. It’s been a blessing, and hopefully we can continue to work together, because I’ve loved being a part of what Google has going.