DimeMag

The 30 Best Basketball Commercials Of All Time

Who remembers the Y2K craze? The world was supposed to end, or at the least, society was supposed to collapse. We got a terrible Will Smith album (Or if you were a misguided soul like me, you probably liked it.). We were all planning to end up like John Cusack in 2012, flying planes through buildings and angling for tickets to some special ship. But the best thing to ever came out of the year 2000 was the Sportscenter commercial. Who remembers it? Mark McGwire smashing computers. Charley Steiner, with a tie around his forehead, yelling, “FOLLOW ME! FOLLOW ME TO FREEDOM!”

Sportscenter has released a ton of memorable ads, but for me, that particular one will always stick out.

From the days of Magic, Larry and Michael to the present, we’ve all found personal connections in commercials. I can still remember watching the MJ “Frozen Moment” ad, rubber basketball in my hands, a No. 23 jersey on my back. I still remember Tracy McGrady‘s first adidas spot, and how it felt like the world was changing because T-Mac was defying the physics of sports. And who can go on about commercials and not mention Reebok and Allen Iverson? They shut it down for nearly a decade together.

But a list of the best of the best is nearly impossible. We’ve tried, and while we’re sure a few were lost over the years, we think this is a pretty solid list on its own. Here are our 30 favorite basketball commercials ever…

30. GATORADE – “Good Vs. Bad”
Year: 2007
Who: Dwyane Wade and the angel/devil dilemma

29. FOOT LOCKER – “The ‘Melos” & “Harden Soul”
Year: 2012, 2013
Who: Carmelo Anthony and his clones; James Harden making his R&B debut

28. JORDAN BRAND – “Blake & Drain”
Year: 2013
Who: Blake Griffin and a young fella off the street

27. ADIDAS – Kobe Bryant
Year: 1998
Who: Kobe Bryant before he became the Mamba

26. REEBOK – The Jump Shot
Year: When D-Miles existed
Who: Darius Miles, Allen Iverson, Jamal Crawford, Steve Francis, Baron Davis

25. NIKE – Nike Air Max Penny
Year: 1995
Who: Penny & Lil’ Penny

24. NIKE – The Puppets
Year: Back before LeBron was “clutch”
Who: LeBron and Kobe… as puppets surrounded by a lot of white

23. CONVERSE – React
Year: 1993
Who: Larry Johnson & Grandmama

22. NIKE – Nike Basketball “The Barbershop”
Year: Before Sprewell starting choking out coaches
Who: Chris Webber, Latrell Sprewell

21. CONVERSE – The Weapon
Year: 1986
Who: Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

20. PEPSI – “Uncle Drew”
Year: 2012
Who: Kyrie Irving creates a streetball legend

19. NIKE – “Rise”
Year: 2010
Who: LeBron James after the Decision

18. REEBOK – The Answer DMX
Year: 1997
Who: Allen Iverson, getting me to go out and practice this move non-stop for one summer

17. ADIDAS – adidas T-Mac II
Year: Don’t make me say it *sheds a tear*
Who: Tracy McGrady & The Clipse

16. NIKE – Nike Air Max Penny III
Year: Sometime before Tyra fell off
Who: Penny, Lil Penny & Tyra Banks in the most memorable Penny commercial ever

15. REEBOK – The Answer V
Year: 2002
Who: Iverson & Jada

14. NIKE – Air Jordan I
Year: 1984
Who: Michael Jordan in the original famous “Banned” commercial, rocking the sneakers that caused the league to fine the Bulls every time he wore them

13. REEBOK – Reebok Pump Shaq Attaq
Year: 1993
Who: Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Walton, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

12. REEBOK – The Answer IV
Year: 2000
Who: A Lot of Allen Iversons, and the beat to “40 Bars”

11. NIKE – Role Model
Year: Sometime before Charles got fat
Who: Charles Barkley… reading obviously off some cards

10. GATORADE
Year: Sometime before MJ created the worst team in the NBA
Who: Michael, Michael & Michael

9. NIKE – Dr. Funk
Year: When VC was still the next MJ
Who: Vince Carter, Bobbito Garcia, Pee Wee Kirkland

8. ADIDAS – adidas T-Mac I
Year: 2001
Who: Tracy McGrady

7. NIKE – Air Jordan V
Year: 1989
Who: Michael Jordan & Mars Blackmon starting the catch phrase “It’s gotta be the shoes!”

6. MCDONALD’S – Big Mac Lunch
Year: When short shorts were okay
Who: Larry Bird & Michael Jordan

5. NIKE – Nike LeBron IV
Year: 2006
Who: LeBron & The LeBrons & Kool & The Gang. Try to say this wasn’t one of the best commercials you’ve ever seen.

4. ADIDAS – adidas Kobe II
Year: During the ‘fro Kobe reign
Who: Kobe & the Moon Shoes

3. NIKE – The Fun Police
Year: When Tom Gugliotta was cool
Who: Kevin Garnett, Cherokee Parks & Tom Gugliotta

2. JORDAN BRAND – Air Jordan XXI
Year: 2006
Who: Michael Jordan putting together a perfect commercial

1. NIKE BASKETBALL – Freestyle Extended
Year: Around 2000
Who: Dawn Staley, Jason Williams, Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace, etc.

What are your favorite basketball commercials of all time?

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