Friday, June 6, 2008

Pitchmen

By now you have heard: Da-wayne Wade is in Charles Barkley's Fav Five. And Charles is a nuisance, calling Dawayne at all hours, interrupting what is very likely an intimate moment b/w said NBA star and his mysterious fat friend. I have chosen to focus on these somewhat comedic, many times over annoying commercials because, well...the Celtics-Lakers Finals is perhaps my own personal hell. Diversion is a necessary antidote to the illness born from Kobe and Boston, generally. Only if Kobe were traded to the Celtics could I possibly hate him more. Let's pray this parade of horribles does not happen, in the name of me not killing him/myself/others. 

But back to commercials. I focus on the 80s (bled into the early 90s) - a time so aptly described by Chief Naka, an era I remember as pleasant and stress-free, when Von Hayes played first base, Steve Bedrosian saved games, and Ron Anderson was a household name.

I begin with the supreme being, the number one pitchman of all time: MJ Himself: And more particularly, MJ and Mickey Ds (leaving Nike, Haines, and god knows what else for another day). Before MJ made it huge, he fueled a little something called, the "McPack." For a whopping $2.29, you could purchase a quarter pounder, a quarter pounder with cheese, OR a Big Mac, with large fries and large coke. What will $2.29 get you today? Two delicious tastykakes. Props to you Sandy Bixby. Then Mike supported the McLean Deluxe, then the McBacon Break.  In no time he was being spotted at the local McDonald's by Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Rahad, before finally competing against that great white hype for a Big Mac and fries. Of particular note: Larry Bird's neck/shoulder hair; MJ's incredible shorts/shirt combo. Unbeatable. I want McDonalds. Now. 

Sir Charles. If memory serves me correctly, there is a chance this commercial was filmed at CHA. I don't see Pete Carver anywhere near the camera, though, so I proceed cautiously with that assumption. In maybe the most unlikely commercial of all time, the Chuck Wagon teamed up with Hyundai to promote their new luxury automobile, the Sonata. Any chance he didn't pawn this sucker off and play it in one hand at the tables? Any chance he could fit his rotund backside in it to begin with? And as mentioned last week, Charles swore off flaky white stuff, like flipping the bird in every proud african-american basketball player's face who chooses to leave massive amounts of flaky white stuff in their underarms, quite consciously it would appear. I argue it's highly unlikely that Charles could spell the word "uncivilized," but it is of no matter. I still use Right Guard to this day. Charles had tremendous Nike commercials as well, visiting Mr. Robinson's neighborhood, dominating Godzilla on the low post, and crashing his tiny shorts into the tiny shorts of Buck Williams, Sidney Moncrief, and Moses Malone. You are a fuckin role model, Charles, most directly because of for your gambling habits, crass political views, and uncontrollable temper. I would kill to be in your fave five. 

The greatest rap/ball player combo of all time-  Isiah, Bernard King, Magic, Bird, McHale...and Mark Aguirre: Converse got instantly cooler with this gem. Before Magic had AIDS, he pitched Diet Pepsi, Slice, KFC 7Up. That's right, you read it here: Magic fronted orange soda and fried chicken. Go figure. And he wasn't alone, someone out there in the advertising decided that black athletes love orange soda. Nique jumped on the bandwagon, and no time, orange soda was the official soft drink of the NBA. Even Isiah was sneaking around gankin cans from Patrick Ewing. To you, David Stern, I assert that stereotypes aren't born, they are merely reaffirmed. Then young Shaq went head-to-head against the Dream for...tacos! And if Mickey D's was for MJ and Charles, Magic had KFC on lock, and Hakeem was thinking outside the bun, the Mailman always had his Hardees

What's clear remains that NBA superstars will do anything for a dollar. And that there are many more commercials worthy of our collective appreciation. But alas, I must learn the rules of agency and partnership rather than unearth further proof that Moses Malone practiced throwing up bricks only to pad his rebound stats.

Happy Weekend to All. 


5 comments:

  1. I can do some damage to some Hardess fried chicken.

    If sir Charles and P-Lite did film that commercial at CHA, that's the gym where Chirf Naka dropped half-court bombs "with regularity," and where he told DVdubs to "Chill out, man!" in a lock-up for the ball. Ah, glory days.

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  2. Flintskins is the Kelly Johnson (from the night before last) of the DR staff.

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  3. Flintskins is the Chris Snelling of the DR staff; occasionally helps the team, but gets sent back to the minors whenever they don't need him.

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