Is Nike trying to tell basketball fans something in its humorous new ads for the 2009 NBA playoffs? Let's see ... the spot features two puppets that represent an overly excited LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and a very cool, calm and collected Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron circles Kobe like a hyper child looking for attention, yelling: "Postseason, Kobe Bryant, get excited! Chosen one! Ohio, baby!" Kobe monotonously brushes LeBron off, saying he is excited, as he walks into a cloud of chalk created by LeBron (a reference to the latter's tradition of rubbing chalk on his hands before each game). LeBron goes on shouting "Playoffs, baby!" and random things like "$20 Chinese food! Make some noise, Kobe! Beef and broccoli!" That's when viewers get reminded that this is indeed a Nike commercial, as LeBron's puppet is shown wearing branded sneakers. The entire time, Kobe is disinterested in what's going on—I'm assuming because he has already won three NBA championships—until he finds himself sitting in piles of chalk at the end. Meanwhile, the only thing missing from this being a perfect year for LeBron is the championship ring. Perhaps Nike is implying that a pair of good sneakers could help him get it.
—Posted by Elena Malykhina