Kicks Commercial Theater: When Kevin McHale rapped about Converse Weapons

Image: Converse (via Armando Medina)
Image: Converse (via Armando Medina)

Hello and welcome to Kicks Commercial Theater, a semi-regular look at some of the best – both legitimately and ironically – sneaker commercials of all-time.  We sort of started things off during our look at the “XX8 Days of Flight” which featured one of the best spots ever produced, highlighting the young stars of Jordan Brand while Mary J. Blige does a beautiful cover of a Stevie Wonder classic, not to mention our tribute to the Black Mamba from his time with adidas to his current gig at Nike.

And speaking of music (both Mary J. and Kobe’s, although one is clearly a step above the other), what better way to kick off this series for real than with the commercial that set back rap about 50 years exemplified where rap was in pop culture during the 80s: a 1986 30-second ad for the Converse Weapons featuring some of the greatest NBA players of all-time.

Starring Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Kevin McHale, Mark Aquirre, Bernard “the real king of New York” King and Larry Bird, the whole commercial pretty much sums up what was so awesome about the NBA during the 1980s.  Before there was so much concern over an athlete’s “brand,” these stars were willing to put themselves out there without the slightest bit of self-awareness.

Of course, we all know that Magic is always game when it comes to entertaining and Bird was one of the funniest athletes to ever, but who knew that Kevin McHale was a dope lyricist or that Bernard King was just simply cooler than everybody else in the room?  And then there’s this rarely seen outtakes video, where even in a simple commercial shoot there were signs of unease between Magic and the two Celtics legends.  Ah, the 80s.  Good times…

With today’s separation of stars amongst Nike, Jordan Brand (kind of) and adidas, it would be impossible to see a commercial like this today.  The closest we would have is a remake with maybe the Nike Hyperdunk featuring LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Paul Pierce and James Harden.  A nice collection of stars and all, but I don’t think they come close to matching the unintentional comedy of the 80s team.  And as much as I think of the world of Velvet Hoop, Kevin McHale has the New God Flow going for him.

Do you think a modern day version of this commercial would work?  Who would you like to see in a remake of this ad? Sound off in the comments below…