Kyrie Irving has been labeled the heir apparent to Chris Paul when it comes to being a complete point guard and an ideal pitchman, and rightfully so. The two All-Stars both possess charisma and a command presence to go with their dynamic games and elite handles.
Although both Paul and Irving employ alter-egos in their campaigns, the casting serves to distinguish their differences rather than highlight their similaries. Paul's foil is his "twin brother Cliff," a helpful insurance agent who goes above and beyond to provide good customer service. Irving's foil has been "Uncle Drew," a prototypical "Old Head" who shocks everyone when Irving, dressed in costume and wearing aging make-up, schools everyone at the park. Paul wants to shake your hand; Irving wants to make you shake your head.
The latest episode of Irving's popular Uncle Drew series -- "Chapter 3" -- was released by Pepsi this week. In the six-minute long mini-movie, Irving (as Drew) convinces "Lights" -- an elderly Jazz musician played by Nuggets guard Nate Robinson -- to make a return to the court over the protests of "Betty Lou," an elderly woman played by WNBA star Maya Moore. Drew convinces Lights to join him on the court, where they dazzle with alley-oop dunks, And1 mixtape dribbling displays, and long jumpers, and Betty Lou eventually gets in on the playground action too.
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Like the first two episodes, "Uncle Drew: Chapter 3" is thoughtful, well-paced, and funny without being corny. Importantly, the complex story ultimately doesn't get in the way of Irving's elusive displays of athleticism. Robinson has long been known as an upbeat guy who doesn't take himself or life too seriously; he succeeds in this ad primarily because he balances those natural tendencies with solemn acting in the intro. To his credit, and the credit of the make-up artists, it's not immediately obvious that Robinson is playing "Lights," even to the discerning viewer.
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Paul, 28, has developed to the point where he's most likely to beat you with his mind and his vision, and his insurance ads do well to highlight those attributes, as well as his maturity. He is dependability defined.
But Irving, 20, is such a precocious, explosive commodity that it sometimes seems like he's surprising himself -- not just his audience -- when he finds a new way to drop defenders to the ground, or when he scoots to the rim and finishes a breathtaking basket in traffic. The "Uncle Drew" series has been a smash hit because it captures -- and enhances -- Irving's unpredictability.
Here's the original "Uncle Drew."
And here's "Uncle Drew: Chapter 2."
Video via YouTuber user Pepsi