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The ’90s was an unparalleled watershed era in sneaker advertising campaigns. Between Lil’ Penny, Barkley declining to accept role model status, Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood and a seemingly endless trove of incredible Air Jordan ads, anybody who digs this sort of thing â€“ and who doesn’t? â€“ was in heaven.
But that isn’t to say the following decade didn’t hold its own. As always, Michael Jordan provided fertile ground with his final return to the court, as did the rise, fall and rise again of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, two of the most intriguing and marketable personalities in sports history.
To narrow it down to the 10 best campaigns since 2000, a few fantastic ads had to miss the cut, namely Kobe’s Robert Rodriguez-directed Black Mamba movie, LeBron’s Bruce Lee-esque Chamber of Fear living cartoon, and the outstanding MVPuppets series. We’re also partial to the old Kobe adidas ad, when he spoke perfect Italian on the court.
But the ads on the following list contain the best combination of creativity, effectiveness and, most importantly, cool factor. If you haven’t seen any of these â€“ or even if you have â€“ none of them are hard to find on YouTube. Here’s what we think, but by all means, take a trip down memory lane and draw your own conclusions.
–The 10 Best Players Since 2000
–The Top 10 Dunkers Since 2000
–The 10 Best Ballhandlers Since 2000
–The Top 10 Basketball Sneakers Since 2000
–The Top 10 Teams Since 2000
–The 10 Worst Basketball Trends Since 2000
–The Next 10 Who Will Shape The Future Generation Of Basketball
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10. ANSWER IX
The best Allen Iverson ad was when he did The Move. You know the one â€“ the one-handed behind-the-back spin move that you tried to duplicate for hours and could never quite pull off.
That ad, however, came long before 2000. For our purposes, AI’s best post-Y2K ad was for the Answer 9, and it got to the essence of why everyone respected him: He was a tough son of a bitch. The ad was simple enough, featuring Iverson sitting on a trainer’s table while his myriad of injuries, from a dislocated shoulder to a fractured hand to a spinal contusion, were diagrammed on his body. At the end of the ad, he said, “Time to go to work,” and headed for the court.
There were ads that better encapsulated the hip-hop sensibilities that made Iverson a counterculture NBA icon; the one with Jadakiss comes to mind. But no commercial better captured the obstacles Iverson had to overcome to become the marvel he was. Iverson was so much smaller than everyone else, and he took so much punishment.
Iverson was a flawed player for sure â€“ he was hardly efficient â€“ but nobody can take away the five 30-point seasons, the MVP Award, the 11 All-Star Games, that magnificent Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. And nobody should forget how tough he had to be to accomplish all of it. Seeing all of Iverson’s injuries spread out across his body as a pain map made sure that didn’t happen.