Kobe Bryant gets the star treatment from Robert Rodriguez
Talk about having mixed emotions: No one's a bigger fan of Robert Rodriguez than me, so I was thrilled to hear that he was doing a lavish, six-minute Nike commercial ... well, until I heard that he was doing it to promote Kobe Bryant's new line of Black Mamba basketball sneakers. Kobe doesn't get a lot of love in my household, especially from my 12-year-old, who felt like Santa brought an extra Christmas present when the Heat demolished the Lakers on Christmas Day and was even happier to see our beloved Celtics thoroughly dominate the lackluster Lakers last weekend.
That said, I like the trailer for Rodriguez's new commercial that's already up on the Web. It's presented like an old grindhouse trailer, with an announcer booming: "He thought he was on a road trip to Dallas, but he was on a freeway to hell!" The footage features Kobe doing his thing on a rooftop basketball court, with cameo appearances from Rodriguez stock company veterans like Danny Trejo and Bruce WIllis, who gets to glower at us in front of a flaming basketball backboard. Rodriguez transforms Kobe into a hoops-style action hero, defying gravity at every turn. He even works in some comic relief -- I'm sure gym rats everywhere will get a laugh at the shot from the pickup game where one of Kobe's opponents tosses the referee off the roof.
As for it improving Kobe's image, all I can say is that in the trailer that's up now, we see Kobe stealing the ball, making a nice spin move and going up for a ferocious dunk, but as in most real Lakers games, we still don't see him actually passing the ball. I guess if Rodriguez could do a 90-minute feature, there'd be time to fit in one assist. If you're interested in the backstory about how Kobe and Rodriguez got together to make the commercial, check out this post over at our Lakers blog. The ad is scheduled to surface sometime during the NBA all-star game weekend. Here's the trailer:
Photo: Kobe Bryant being fouled while shooting by Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal in a game at Staples Center where the Celtics defeated the Lakers, 109-96. Credit: Jeff Gross / AFP/Getty Images