For whatever reason, brands have seemingly done a better job developing creative and interesting ad campaigns for NBA players than athletes in other sports. That’s not to say there aren’t clever campaigns elsewhere — see, the unavoidable Discount Double-Check for Aaron Rodgers — but something about basketball lends itself to brands having a little more fun with their clients.
There are plenty of examples, but the gold standard recently has been the “Uncle Drew” ad campaign Pepsi put together for Kyrie Irving, involving Irving dressing up as an old man and dominating random people at a local park basketball court. It was a brilliant idea and the first two installments were fantastic — once the cat was out of the bag, the novelty and surprise elements wore off some.
The nickname “Uncle Drew” has stuck for the new Celtics’ point guard, and he’s ready to make the leap from YouTube and the small screen to the big screen with an Uncle Drew movie.
The movie is being filmed in Atlanta, and on Tuesday morning we got our first peek at the star-studded cast, which, being that it’s filmed in Atlanta, unsurprisingly features a number of legends that currently work for Turner — the network behind TNT and NBA TV.
In the image you can see Shaq in the back, along with Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Lisa Leslie, and Nate Robinson (who we’ve seen before in the “Uncle Drew” YouTube shorts). The film also stars LilRel Howery and Erica Ash, and Deadline has reported that Nick Kroll is also part of the cast.
Irving filming the movie would explain why he went from bearded to clean shaven this summer, a move that led him to get roasted by many. If the Uncle Drew film — set to release June 29, 2018 — is a success, Irving will be the one with the last laugh and will be the latest NBA star to take his turn on the big screen, following in the footsteps of his old teammate, LeBron James.