The NBA All-Star Game went down this past weekend and superstar Kobe Bryant was the center of attention - and it wasn’t for grabbing his fourth All-Star MVP.
Rather, Bryant was highlighted for his starring performance in a Nike-funded short-film commercial directed by Robert Rodriguez called The Black Mamba. Nike has been teasing The Black Mamba with thirty second spots in the weeks leading up to the All-Star Game and finally showed the entire film during this weekend’s big event. The result was nothing short of spectacular.
The story is pretty simple as it all revolves around Rodriguez sitting down with Bryant to discuss his idea for a film called The Black Mamba. As the two discuss how the story will unfold the scenes play out for the audience, including cameo appearances by Danny Trejo (The Crippler), Bruce Willis (Mr. Suave) and musician Kanye West (The Boss). Rodriguez must have hung out with Michael Bay before making this film because almost everything explodes in a giant ball of flames – including Bryant’s bus!
Watch The Black Mamba below and enjoy:
Making short films to show off new products isn’t a new form of marketing for Nike. In the '90s the company released several well-done commercials showcasing their soccer products. This is the first time, however, they have brought on some A-list talent from multiple outlets – sports, films and music. Rodriguez has worked with Willis and Trejo before on several occasions, and Kanye West directed a short film called Runaway that accompanied his latest album release, but this is Bryant’s first time in front of the camera for something other than sports or news related items – and I think he did just fine.
Most of the credit goes to Rodriguez for his direction of taking a basketball star like Bryant and making him come across as a natural actor who has been in movies for years. Some basketball stars have had a hard time crossing over to film (I’m looking at you Dennis Rodman, Shaq and yes, Michael Jordan) but Bryant does a good job here.
Besides being very cool to watch, Nike does have an ulterior motive with releasing Black Mamba - to promote their new line of shoes the Nike Zoom Kobe VI, which can be seen being worn by Bryant in every shot.
What did you think of Bryant’s acting skills in The Black Mamba and would you like to see more advertising in the short film format?
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