NBA Brings Players and Famous Fans Together for Epic Playoffs Ad

Yesterday meets today inside 'NBA Lane Arena'

Here's a championship drive, three-quarters of a century in the making.

But first, some background. Last fall, Michael B. Jordan steered a bus down "NBA Lane," that fantastical street where current stars and all-time legends hang out, to help the league celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Translation created the campaign, following up with a wacky "family gathering" (of sports and Hollywood luminaries) for the holidays.

Now, the bus hits the highway in epic style, en route to the NBA Playoffs, which start on April 16. Mike B.'s not behind the wheel, but sundry All-Stars, Hall of Famers, broadcasters and famous fans appear. In a dope touch, the banners of every championship team in league history decorate the rafters of "NBA Lane Arena."

NBA Lane | “Playoffs on NBA Lane” | #NBA75

Director Emmett Malloy generates great energy throughout, with equal measures of reverence, irreverence and intensity. Partly shot at the 2022 All-Star Game in Cleveland, the spot rocks a totally different vibe than last year's playoffs promo. That ad, also by Translation, explored round ball's cultural impact, mixing game highlights with scenes of players' off-court battles for social justice. Much brighter in tone, though equally heartfelt, "NBA Lane Arena" emphasizes fun and excitement, honoring the league's history and offering glimpses of tomorrow.

Here's a making-of reel...

NBA Lane | “Playoffs Behind-the-Scenes” | #NBA75

...and the full cast list:

  • Current NBA Players: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls), Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Darius Garland (Cleveland Cavaliers), Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • Legends: Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, Clyde Drexler, Reggie Miller, Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson, Chris Webber
  • Broadcasters: Malika Andrews, Marv Albert, Ernie Johnson, Stephen A. Smith, Xavier Vaution
  • Fans: Anthony Anderson, Tiffany Haddish, Spike Lee, Ludacris, Mark Phillips, Issa Rae, Breanna Stewart, Vince Staples, Ben Stiller

Guess Spike and Chuck ditched Sam at March Madness. He'll be fighting mad.

"'NBA Lane' was created to connect with both casual and core fans," says league CMO Kate Jhaveri. "The campaign taps into our favorite memories to evoke nostalgia, while also creating anticipation for the future of the game by celebrating rising stars."

Blink-and-you'll-miss-'em Easter eggs abound. They range from Stiller's take on LeBron James' chalk-toss to a shot clock displaying clutch "moments" of yesteryear. Fortnite avatars Fishstick and Peely show up, too. And there's a broom-wielding Hakeem Olajuwon bobblehead, nodding to Houston's sweep of Orlando in the '95 NBA Finals. 

The spot "tips off the final chapter of our 75th anniversary season and fittingly takes place in and around an arena," Jhaveri says. "We sought to showcase the physical representation of basketball culture. The film features six NBA all-stars and more than 20 NBA legends, broadcasters, celebrities and notable faces—with the constant thread among all being their love of the game."


Brand/Client: NBA 
Campaign Title: 2021 75th Anniversary NBA Lane
First Air Date: 3/30//2022

Spot Title: 
Playoffs on NBA Lane

Brand/Client Team: NBA
Chief Marketing Officer: Kate Jhaveri
Senior Director of Marketing & Advertising: Katie Papelian
Senior Advertising Manager: Alexander Wood
International Advertising and Content Manager: Matt Halliwell
Advertising Associate: Caroline Abrams
Creative Consultant: Rudy Crew
Senior Vice President, Entertainment and Player Marketing: Michael Levine
Senior Manager, Entertainment and Player Marketing: Avi Nussubaum
Senior Manager, Entertainment and Player Marketing: Randye Rand
Senior Manager Content Promotions and PSAs: Cory Zalewski

Agency: Translation     
Chief Executive Officer: Steve Stoute    
President: Ann Wool    
Head of Client Services: Susanna Swartley
Executive Creative Director: Jason Campbell
Creative Director: Mina Mikhael
Creative Director: Steve Horn
Art Director: Alyssa Lee
Copywriter: Marisa Valente 
Head of Integrated Production: Alison Hill
Senior Producer: Lee Nichnowitz
Junior Producer: Ashley Pineda
Chief Strategy Officer: Sandi Preston
Group Context Director: Joel Rodriguez
Strategy Director: Eric Lopez
Context Strategist: Alex Glaum
Senior Account Director: David Mintz 
Account Supervisor: Taylor West
Account Executive: Victoria Jean-Pierre

Media Agency: Mediahub

Production Company: Superprime
Director: Emmett Malloy  
Managing Director: Rebecca Skinner
Executive Producer: Charlotte Woodhead
Managing Director / Sales: Michelle Ross
Head of Production: Matt Sanders
Producer: Alexandra Lisee
Producer: Sally Hanson 
Producer: William Green 
Production Supervisor: Danielle Billman 
Director of Photography: Ross Giardina 
2nd Unit DP: Erin Wesley 
2nd Unit DP: Evan Prosofsky 
Production Designer: Kim Rees
Costume Designer: Cherish Cullison
1st AD: Paul Norman
Key Grip: Derrick Armand 
Gaffer: Will Reid

Editorial Company: RPS
Head of Production / Executive Producer: Justin Kumpata
Senior Producer: Cynthia Laplaige
Editor: Jamie Foord 
Assistant Editor: Michael Shugarman 
Editor: Aaron Tompkins 
Assistant Editor: Austin Valenti 
Assistant Editor: Ollie Nevin 
Senior Cutting Assistant - Social: Ollie Nevin
After Effects: Alex Scott
Managing Director: Eve Kornblum 

VFX Company: Parliament

Sound Design & Mix: Sonic Union
Sound Designer/Mix Engineer: Steve Rosen 
Sound Designer/Mix Engineer: Rob DiFondi 
Sound Designer/Mix Engineer:  Rob Ballingall 
Audio Post Studio Director: Justine Cortale

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