LeBron and Friends Go 'Ballin' in a Christmas Wonderland' for the NBA

Translation tosses up a chill holiday spot

NBA arenas should turn up their thermostats, judging from the frosty courts and snowballs fit for dunking on display in the league's new holiday commercial, which promotes a Christmas Day slate of games on ESPN and ABC.

LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and other superstars appear in the CGI-driven film from creative shop Translation. Holly-jolly imagery abounds—those decked-out trees are blinding!—as former Fifth Harmony singer Normani performs "Ballin' in a Christmas Wonderland" (a hoop-skewed take on "Winter Wonderland," natch).

Ballin’ in a Christmas Wonderland

"Matchups are tight / Games all day and night / Ballin' in a Christmas wonderland." Not as smooth as the original, perhaps, but clearly more on-brand. James Harden steals it, so to speak, with his side-shovel gifting of Houston Rockets teammate Russell Westbrook.

As for the NBA, it's probably dreaming of net gains amid a domestic TV ratings chill, and praying China resumes airing Rockets games following October's PR fiasco.

Six years ago, the league shot some musical "Jingle Hoops" for the holidays, and its festive spots touting the Dec. 25 games have become a tradition. "Ballin' in a Christmas Wonderland" premieres during tonight's NBA coverage on ESPN.


Agency: Translation
Chief Executive Officer: Steve Stoute
Chief Strategy Officer: Sandi Preston
Chief Marketing Officer: Chaucer Barnes
Group Creative Director: Andy Ferguson
Sr. Art Director: Steve Torres
Sr. Copywriter: Neil Lopez
Director of Content Production: Miriam Franklin
Executive Producer: Matt Flaherty
Director of Business Affairs: Thalia Tsouros
Business Affairs Manager: Maria Elia
Group Account Director: Sam Howard
Account Director: Jared Leake
Account Supervisor: Jordan Ofsevit
Strategy Director: Shon Mogharabi
Project Manager: Rikki Greenspan

Editorial: Lost Planet
Editor: Bruce Herrman
Assistant: Steven San Miguel
Producer: Casey Cayko
Executive Producer: Krystn Wagenberg
Post Production Company: Jane
Lead Creative Director: Westley Sarokin
Founder/Creative Director: David Parker
Creative Director: Cole Schreiber
Founder/Managing Partner: Nancy Nina Hwang
Executive Producer: Rich Rama
Lead Post Producer: Lily Sarokin

Flame Artist: Tim Bird
Flame Artist: Shauna Prescott
Flame Artist: Jameson DeSantis

Executive Producer: André Gaspar
Post Producer: Ana Fino
CG Supervisor: Rui Romano
Look Dev Lead: Pedro Benjamim
FX Lead: Diogo Ferreira
FX Artist: Jaime Cipriano
3D Tracking: Luis Catalo
3D Animation: Luis Catalo
Finishing: Black Hole
Senior Producer: Felix Cabrera
Assistant Producer: Isabel Gomez
Senior Flame Artist: Tim Farrell
Color: Jane
Colorist: Westly Sarokan
Producer: Lily Tomlin
Audio Post: Heard City
Mixer: Cory Melious
Producer: Andi Lewis

Song: "Ballin' in a Winter Wonderland"
Artist: Normani

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