NBA Stars, Old and New, Gather for League's Fun 75th Birthday Ad

Michael B. Jordan steers spot down 'NBA Lane'

Is this ad the stuff of legend? It's stuffed with legends, that's for sure!

Bus driver Michael B. Jordan pilots an epic short film celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NBA, touring a fantastical neighborhood where dozens of all-time greats choose to dwell. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Kevin Durant, Julius Erving, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Chris Paul and Bill Russell put in appearances (some live at addresses matching their jersey numbers).

NBA Lane | “Welcome to NBA Lane” | #NBA75

Translation developed the campaign "as a way to honor both the history and future of the NBA" and celebrate "the connection fans have built with our game," league marketing chief Kate Jhaveri says in press materials.

Adds Russell: "Being a part of this film, alongside so many greats representing nearly eight decades of the league's history, is a great thrill and a tremendous honor."

Directors Rick Famuyiwa (Dope, The Mandalorian) and Emmett Malloy (Easy Express, Tribes of Palos Verdes) infuse the nearly three-minute spot with pure electricity. Good vibes fill each fab frame, and Easter eggs abound.

The behind-the-scenes reel similarly shines:

NBA Lane | Behind the Scenes | #NBA75

Whether you follow the league religiously or just catch games from time to time, there's something here for everyone. Even Lil Penny! Michael Jordan—No. 23, middle initial "J," who ranks among the G.O.A.T.-iest ever—shows up via archival footage. And of course the ad also remembers Kobe Bryant, who died tragically in a helicopter crash last year.

"NBA Lane" mirrors the league's towering status as a cultural force and arbiter of all things chill. NBA World or NBA Universe is more like it. All hail the lords of this transcendent realm—past, present and future—driving music, fashion and style on a championship scale.

Here's a full list of appearances in the spot:

  • Narrator and Bus Driver: Actor and producer Michael B. Jordan
  • NBA Players: Carmelo Anthony (Los Angeles Lakers), LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Russell Westbrook (Los Angeles Lakers) Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans) and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
  • NBA Legends: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ray Allen, Larry Bird, Vlade Divac, Julius Erving, Artis Gilmore, Manu Ginóbili, Richard Hamilton, Grant Hill, Robert Horry, Magic Johnson, Dikembe Mutombo, Dirk Nowitzki, Gary Payton, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Isiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Bill Walton and Jerry West
  • Mascots: Benny the Bull (Chicago Bulls), Boomer (Indiana Pacers), Burnie (Miami Heat), Chuck the Condor (LA Clippers), G-Wiz (Washington Wizards), Hugo (Charlotte Hornets) and The Raptor (Toronto Raptors)
  • Puppets: Lil Penny

Brand/Client Team: NBA
Chief Marketing Officer: Kate Jhaveri
VP Marketing: Kelley Walton
Senior Director of Marketing & Advertising: Katie Papelian
Senior Advertising Manager: Alexander Wood
Advertising Associate: Caroline Abrams
Creative Consultant: Rudy Crew
International Advertising and Content Manager: Matt Halliwell
Associate Vice President Promotions and PSAs: Caryn Pace
Senior Manager Content Promotions and PSAs: Cory Zalewski

Agency: Translation
Chief Executive Officer: Steve Stoute
President: Ann Wool
Chief Strategy Officer: Sandi Preston
Head of Client Services: Susanna Swartley
Executive Creative Director: Jason Campbell
Group Context Director: Joel Rodriguez
Creative Director: Mina Mikhael
Creative Director: Steve Horn
Senior Art Director: Johana Martinez
Senior Copywriter: Chanae Reed
Strategy Director: Eric Lopez
Context Strategist: Alex Glaum
Context Strategist: Zach Brown
Head of Integrated Production: Alison Hill
Executive Producer: Laura Ferguson
Junior Producer: Rebecca Parra
Business Affairs Manager: Gail Uhlar
Senior Account Director: David Mintz
Account Supervisor: Taylor West
Account Executive: Victoria Jean-Pierre

Production Company: Superprime
Directors: Rick Famuyiwa / Emmett Malloy
Managing Director: Rebecca Skinner
Executive Producer: Charlotte Woodhead
Executive Producer/Line Producer: William Green
Head of Production: Matt Sanders
Director of Photography: Matty Libatique

Editorial Company: RPS
Editors: Jamie Foord / Chris Mitchell
Assistant Editors: Jack Kanner / Ollie Nevin
Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum
Producer: Jenny Greenfield

VFX Company: Parliament

Color Grade: The Mill
Colorist: Mikey Rossiter
Color Assists: Stephanie Park, Aaliyah Lambert
Senior Producer: Evan Bauer

Sound Design & Mix: Barking Owl
Sound Design: Gus Koven
Mix: Matt Keith

Music Editor: Houston Fry
Creative Director: Kelly Bayett
Executive Producer: Ashley Benton
Song: "Apache"
Artist: The Incredible Bongo Band

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