NBA Stages an All-Star 'Heist' to Hype In-Season Tourney

Mastermind Michael Imperioli narrates the tale

Can a bunch of NBA superstars—led by Emmy-winning actor Michael Imperioli—steal a championship? 

We learn the answer in "The Heist," an epic promo developed with Translation. Breaking today, the short film, directed by Karim Huu Do, hypes the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament, a competition for all 30 teams that starts on Nov. 3.

Channeling a a moody (but appropriately tongue-in-cheek) Ocean's 11 vibe, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Darius Garland, Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard, Julius Randle and Trae Young execute the caper. NBA icon Magic Johnson flips by for a cameo. 

NBA | The Heist

Cinematographer Chayse Irvin captures a smooth, quasi-dangerous late-night feel. Our fave bit: the slapstick elevator hijinks with DeRozan and Young. Clear foul!

"New tournament, new creative approach," says NBA CMO Tammy Henault. "We had the challenge of educating fans on what the tournament is and generate excitement for it, too. Creatively, we leaned into Las Vegas, where the semi-final and championship will be held."

Seeing some of the league's most-loved players chase the event's NBA Cup trophy adds gravitas, while "fans can play along, spotting favorite players in roles they have never seen them in before," she says.

The NFL has also leveraged Hollywood tropes, most recently in "The Last Page," with comedian Keegan-Michael Key helming a wacky story conference. "The Heist" also resembles the L.A. Rams' faux-thriller "On the Clock," which starred Dennis Quaid plus members of the team and its coaching staff. 

The full film will stream across the league's app and social platforms, with :30s, :15s and :10s in the mix, too.

These days, the NBA's a pop-culture force akin to the movie industry. So, leaning on cinematic style feels about right, and the players certainly appear to have fun with their roles.

Here's a cast list:

  • The Mastermind: Michael Imperioli (“Goodfellas,” “The Sopranos,” “The White Lotus")
  • The Heavy: Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
  • The Sly Guy: DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)
  • The Ice Man: Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
  • The Lookouts: Julius Randle (New York Knicks) and Darius Garland (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • The Vet: Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
  • The Inside Man: Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers) 

And check out the BTS reel:

NBA | The Heist BTS

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.