Tag Archives: George Karl

BASSketball: The sound of NBA ads

12 May

Music and basketball. They go together like Michael Jordan and Gatorade.

Every year around playoff time, the ad men of the NBA build exciting, effective content around music and emotion. The effectiveness of these commercials comes from the fact that the suits expertly mask the fact that they, like any other massive corporation, are selling a product. To avoid a massive debate on the manipulative nature of advertising, we’ll take a look and appreciate just how creative the NBA and others have become, both this year and in years past.

The first example began airing during the 2010 NBA playoffs, but was done by Gatorade. This commercial prompted the largest search query regarding the NBA outside of “Kobe Bryant Gay Pilgrim.”  “Who sings that song in the Gatorade commercial?” I  must have searched for two weeks to no avail before About.com’s Mark Edward Nero gave us the assist. The soulful voice who scratchily sings about evolving is that of Kermit Quinn, who is a new member of the new configuration of BLACKstreet, and the song was produced exclusively for Gatorade by rapper David Banner. I can’t think of any songs (not jingles) that were created exclusively for a company (other than “Be Like Mike”). Please comment with any examples.

“Evolve” by Kermit Quinn

The NBA’s television scheme consisted of some playful DJ work. Patching player and coach audio from press conferences and huddles, playing with the speed of the sound, adding some vocal effects and spreading it over some beats. The difficulty level was not high (they probably used Pro Tools), but the cool factor is. The best one (below) will get Magic Johnson’s voice stuck in your head. It’s a good thing in this case.

Here are some other great NBA commercials with solid sounds from previous years.

When Kevin Garnett finally left Minnesota for greener pastures, the NBA jumped at the chance to promote the move with Bad Finger’s “I Remember.”

This next one was done by ESPN and used Mountains in the Sky’s “Noah’s Arkestra.” To watch Jerry Stackhouse eat GummyBears and George Karl get tackled is worth it alone.