By Ben Golliver
It's always nice when advertising campaigns built around NBA players hit the right notes, and Nike has done well in it's latest Kobe Bryant campaign to hone in on the Lakers' guard's reliability.
The "Count On Kobe" ad uses some poetic language to juxtapose Bryant's ceaseless scoring ability with various global processes that are as old as time.
"This is how the world works. The sun shines. The grass grows. Kobe Bryant arrives to practice at 3. The other three. Chickens bock, bock, bock. Broccoli can fight cancer. Rice provides energy. Kobe eats rice, broccoli, chicken and the world turns.
"Earthquakes shake, bakers bake, Kobe Bryant shakes and bakes defenders. Philosophers ponder existence, scholars read, Kobe Bryant takes everyone to school. Rain falls, waterfalls dump water, Kobe owns the bucket, that bucket. Snakes are light, low and fast.
"Kobe's shoes are like snakes. Bees sting when threatened. Kobe Bryant is never threatened. Best is ahead of better. The basket is ahead of the ball. Kobe is light years ahead of them all. This is the way it was, this is the way it is, this is the way it will be."
This week, we noted that Bryant was a no-brainer selection as an All-Star starter and he finished as the leading vote-getter, as the fans appointed him to his 15th consecutive start, a new NBA record. Bryant also made headlines in December for becoming the youngest player to crack 30,000 points, a threshold that speaks to his steadiness as a scorer year after year.
Bryant's been the Lakers' rock this year too, leading the NBA in scoring while going through a coaching change and coping with injuries to Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. At 17-22, the Lakers remain the league's biggest disappointment, but the damage could be a lot worse if not for their No. 6 ranked offense, which has been powered by Bryant and his 24.3 PER, his most efficient season since 2008-09.
The ad's closing line -- "This is the way it will be" -- is a particularly nice flourish because Bryant enjoys having it both ways. He's made it clear that he's done more and seen more than his younger competitors while also steadfastly refusing to concede his spot atop the NBA's mountain. (Look no further than his recent statements about his world-beating one-on-one skills.) That combination of "I've been here forever" and "I'm not going anywhere" has laced Bryant's comments over the last 18 months, through playoff disappointments, a gold medal run with USA Basketball in London, and the Lakers' turbulent 2012-13 season. At 34, he's acknowledged his age without conceding to it, and this spot captures that dynamic nicely.
Video via YouTube user nikebasketball