This egomaniacal Nike ad airing in China will remind everyone of something I firmly believe: Kobe is just the worst.
To put this in context, remember Derek Jeter’s goodbye commercial for Gatorade? Yes, it was a brand-driven piece of promotional material and gross in its own way, but at least there’s a “man of the people” vibe to it, even if it’s not real.
In this Kobe ad, there’s no humility.
It starts so weird. Just like the Jeter ad, it begins with fans fawning over our aged athlete. But while Jeter is shaking hands and signing autographs in the Bronx, Kobe is staring into a camera saying things like, “You love me because I’m Kobe,” and, “You love me because I’m a five-time champion.” You are 16 seconds into this ad and you may have thrown up already.
“You love me because I’m one of the greatest to step on the court.”
I mean, it’s not as if those are false statements, but this isn’t Kobe walking through Shanghai and thanking people personally. It’s more like him thanking the people of Shanghai for noticing how awesome he is (was).
But then it turns. “You should hate me.”
No problem, buddy!
“Hate me because I pushed you when no else would.”
“Hate me because I demanded greatness.”
So at least Kobe does a 180 and offers some self-inspection into… wait, these are just sneaky backdoor compliments that sound like he’s being humble. “Hate me because I’m the best!”
No one’s denying Kobe is a global phenomenon, but he’s acting like he inspired China to buy basketballs and build courts. What about Yao Ming? “I pushed you when no one else would.” I’m sure you changed lives when you dropped 68 points on celebrities in a charity game in 2012.
Anyway, congrats on a Hall of Fame career.