The Secrets Behind One of the Best Basketball Commercials of All-Time

01.25.10 9 years ago 12 Comments

On Friday afternoon Sports Business guru Darren Rovell posted an article on on his column about how McDonald’s has reportedly shot a TV spot with LeBron James and Dwight Howard that recreates the famous MJ/Larry Bird “Nothin’ But Net” commercial from 17 years ago.

Rovell got up with Jim Ferguson, one of the ad execs who came up with the idea for original spot, for the story of how the commercial shoot went down:

“Every detail was worked out. We actually had to have Larry challenge Michael to the game because we couldn’t have Michael make the challenge because of his gambling situation at the time. Larry originally said, “What if’n I play you for it?” And the director, Joe Pytka, asked Larry what “if’n” was.”

“Larry added the line, No Dunking. Then the two took the first two shots (over the backboard and on their knees). After that, it was just editing though Larry didn’t necessarily want to do it that way. When the two of them are in the stands and Larry challenges Michael, Larry was actually trying to figure out if he could really make it off the scoreboard.”

“The two guys also aren’t really sitting on the rafters. We had to bring in a rig and position it about 10 feet off the ground. I remember Jordan saying, ‘If we fall, I’m going to own McDonald’s.’ So there were five or six production assistants under them and if they fell, they would fall on those guys.”

“The funny thing is the commercial almost didn’t make it because at the last second our lawyers realized we didn’t have commercial clearance to use the Hancock Building. Eventually I think we traded to the rights to use it for a basketball autographed by Jordan and Bird and I think $100. Nobody ever thought it would turn into what it did.”

“There’s a story about the awful outfit Jordan is wearing. Larry showed up in regular workout clothes. At the time, Michael was designing his own line of clothes. This was one of the outfits. According to the contract, Michael could pick his wardrobe. Pytka, known for his temper, ridiculed Jordan continuously about the outfit. But to no avail. Jordan refused to wear anything else, but his creation.”

Check out the commercial as it debuted during the Super Bowl that year:

And one last thought: ‘Bron I can see in this new version, but Dwight? DH is a beast and all, but I wouldn’t exactly place money on a guy who shoots 60% from the foul line and much, much worse outside of eight feet to win a crazy H-O-R-S-E contest …

Check out Darren Rovell’s full article HERE.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE

Around The Web