The first half of the 2013 Finals matchup is officially set by virtue of the Spurs sweeping the Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals.
Unfortunately, the Finals don't actually begin until June 6, regardless of how long the Heat and Pacers take to settle things in the East. In other words, we've got some time to kill. The NBA has filled that hole nicely with this "Forever Kobe" Finals ad, a 30-second spot that revolves around Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's massive poster dunk over Nets center Todd MacCulloch during the 2002 Finals.
The spot opens with the original audio/video of the down-the-lane dunk before segueing into a montage of various tributes to the slam. Bryant's dunking pose is captured in a restaurant's billboard, a painted wall graphic, a rear-view mirror chain, a video game reenactment, an elementary school art collage, a hairdo, some staircase graffiti and a wedding cake. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure the theme of this one: iconic NBA highlights last forever and touch those who view them in in all sorts of personal ways.
Given Bryant's recent season-ending Achilles injury, it's nice to see him in action, even if it's pulled from the archives. For Bryant fans who are anxiously counting down the days until his return, this clip is a nice complement to this user-made tribute video play on Nike's "You Showed Us" print campaign.
"Forever Kobe" is less about Bryant's uncertain future and more about the ties that bind the past and present. The Bryant poster, even though it occurred 11 years ago, feels both modern and timeless. After all, Bryant hasn't stopped slamming all over people. He got Josh Smith of the Hawks back in March, and he dunked over two Nets in February, a double-poster that earned him a spot on The Point Forward's top 10 dunks of the year.
Ironically, the linking of past and present is a perfect theme for the 2013 Finals, even if the Lakers aren't involved. The only star from the early-2000s still kicking like Bryant is longtime Western Conference rival Tim Duncan. Both future Hall of Famers have refused to bend to old age, making this ad a nice appetizer for all the classic Spurs highlights we're sure to see over the next few weeks.