Adele, John Malkovich, Magic and Bird Drive Spot Hyping NBA Finals

'We are all in the Finals'

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NBA spokes-character "Non-Stop" (actor Keyon Bowman) sits out the league's latest commercial. But plenty of celebs suit up to hype the NBA Finals, which start in June.

Set to Adele's insistent piano-based "Hometown Glory," the :60 presents an array of celebs—Tony Hawk, Jimmy Kimmel, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and SUGA—with John Malkovich providing narration.

These famous lights from other skies stop and watch when the Finals begin. Thus, the NBA reminds us of its transcendent cultural appeal. And as the saying goes: It's not bragging if it's true.

A pair of hoop legends and mega-rivals show up, too, ogling their championship rings.

That's Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, closing out a spot that differs from the frenetic "Non-Stop" campaign we've seen all season long. This one feels more streamlined and focused—and for all its star power, less glam—honoring the league's traditions, yet in tune with the times.

Here's Malkovich's narration:

"We are all in the Finals.
Ten on the floor.
Millions on the edge.
Half of us are about to learn the difference between champagne
... and just pain.

But just when you think you've felt every emotion possible, 
You realize that was only one game,
And it takes four wins to become champion."

As usual, he strikes a perfect balance between everyman and god. Overall, there's just enough hype, plus a dose of reality, in the push from agency Translation and director Ryan Booth.

"We really wanted to lean into and evoke that emotion that people feel around the finals and get somebody to feel that that anticipation, that excitement, and also, that reverence that you have for what winning the Finals really means," Tammy Henault, the NBA's CMO, tells AdAge.

She adds: "One thing we've historically been really good at is really leaning into our big major tentpoles and making those big moments, and I think that certainly is going to continue to be a priority and focus. But I also think there's white space to be able to show up and reach our fans in more places and more areas aligned with interests that our fans care about, 365 days a year—in-season, but even more, out of season."

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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