By Barry Janoff
August 4, 2013: At this point in his NBA career, it likely would take a lot to move Blake Griffin away from the Los Angeles Clippers, first-year head coach Doc Rivers and All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
However, he could be convinced to add a new — albeit very raw — player by the name of "Dr." Darryl Drain to the team.
Griffin and the fictitious Drain star in a humorous new commercial from Nike's Jordan Brand, which supports the launch of the Super.Fly 2 Jordan hoops shoe. Drain appears to be channeling Spike Lee's Mars Blackmon character — right down to his oversize glasses — from the 1986 movie, She's Gotta Have It, as well as in Nike commercials in the late 1980s and early 1990s that also starred Michael Jordan.
The 60-second spot, "Blake and Drain," was shot in Los Angeles and filmed mostly in black-and-white. It will air during sports programming, on ESPN including SportsCenter. It comes will Internet and social media elements such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Lead agency is Wieden + Kennedy, New York.
The action opens with Griffin and friends trying to get a pick-up game of basketball at a neighborhood playground. With his team one man short, Griffin approaches a guy who appears to be in his 70s and is dressed more for Bingo than basketball.
"Hey, old school, wanna go for a run?" Griffin asks. The senior citizen opts out. But there is another player who wants in.
"Hey, Darryl Drain'll go for a run," the kid, wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the name Dr. Drain, says to Griffin.
Griffin eyeballs the kid. "Darryl Drain? Can you shoot?"
"Can a butterfly sing?" Drain replies.
Drain is oozing with confidence because he thinks every shot he throws up goes it. Which explains why he has given himself the nickname "Dr. Drain." The problem is that he always turns around after taking a shot believing it will go it, and never sees the actual results: None of his shots go in, and he may be the worst shooter in schoolyard hoops history.
Still, desperate times call for desperate measures. Griffin and crew reluctantly let him join their team. On the first play, everyone on Griffin's side is covered except for the kid. He yells for the ball — "Dr. Drain is calling for rain" — and when Griffin passes it to him everyone groans as Drain puts up a wild shot.
It turns out, however, that his bad shots actually are great alley-oop passes, which the other players can catch close enough to the rim to convert into slam dunks. Griffin and crew quickly catch on and pass Drain the ball every time, converting his awful shots into mid-air catches and nasty jams.
Dr. Drain's reputation is growing — not as the shooter who drains every shot that he envisions himself to be, but as a great alley-oop passer. (See the full spot here.)
The action plays out to 1966's "I'm Your Puppet" by James and Bobby Purify ("Pull the string and I'll wink at you/I'm your puppet/I'll do funny things if you want me to/I'm your puppet."
The spot ends with the text, "Lift your game" and the Jordan Brand tag, "Take flight."
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