Among the multitudinous companies with egg dripping from their faces as Dwight Howard and the Magic dispatched LeBron James and his Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals was Vitamin Water (yes, the label looks like “vitaminwater,” but that drives my spellchecker insane and I hate uncapitalized company names). Their Kobe vs. LeBron campaign had been running for months on the presumption that the two would face each other in the finals (I mean, who would be that foolish?).
So what to do now? Kobe vs. Dwight would not only be totally predictable, but the two aren’t comparable players. What are they going to say? “24 shoots tough jump shots!” “12 is six inches taller than him!” “24 is a shooting guard!” “12 is a power forward!” “This is stupid!” “Sure is!”
Luckily, someone at Glaceau had the wisdom to put Howard on camera and just let him have fun with his repertoire of terrible impressions. The spot is after the jump.
Well played, gentlemen. His impressions of Stan Van Gundy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Rick James weren’t especially good or anything, but that’s not the point. The NBA has been blessed with a glut of “safe” superstars, and clearly, Howard is one. That’s nothing pejorative or anything, mind you; it means that you can put a camera on them and not worry about the censors becoming more involved than the fans.
As a matter of fact, between Howard, James, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Paul, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, and Chris Bosh, can you name anything that’s really bad for the league that they’ve done? Yeah, it’s Shaq and his diss track. Meanwhile, most of them have engaging personalities and a spontaneous sense of humor that goes a long way in dispelling the “thug” image that the NBA earned over the last 20 years.
Of course, Kobe’s an outlier on all those accounts, and he’s still the most marketable player in the entire league (sorry LeBron, but nobody’s buying your shoes), so there’s something to be said for letting your play do the talking at the same time. Tonight, it’s time to see if Howard can do that, too.