By Barry Janoff
May 20, 2015: The NBA has put together what amounts to the ultimate highlight reel of great moments from NBA Finals for a new spot that celebrates and anticipates the 2015 Finals, which are scheduled to begin on June 4 (ABC).
Narrated by musician-actor Common, "Lessons In Storytelling: The Greatest Endings," includes scenes dating back to Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and George Mikan in the 1950s through the most recent NBA champs, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
The commercial, part of the league's post-season umbrella "Lessons In Storytelling" campaign, breaks during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks tonight (May 20) on TNT.
"Every great story needs an epic final chapter," offers the spot, referencing the Finals. As clips from more a than a dozen Finals rolls, Common says, "Still don't know how to end this great story? Find inspiration in some of the great legendary endings. Dramatic endings. Jaw-dropping endings. Endings that no one saw coming. Endings that became unforgettable. Endings that made us all cry. Endings that turned men into supermen. Got it. Now go find yours."
Clips range from Cousy and Russell's Boston Celtics in the 1950s, Willis Reed and the New York Knicks, Rick Barry and the Warriors, Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor) with the Milwaukee Bucks, Magic Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar with the Los Angeles Lakers, Larry Bird with the Celtics, Julius Erving defying gravity under the backboard to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Lakers in 1983, two-time NBA Finals champ Hakeem Olajuwon with the Houston Rockets, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant with the Lakers, Kevin Garnett with the Celtics and several shots of six-time NBA champ Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls
More recently, we see Dirk Nowitzki leading the Dallas Mavericks over the Miami Heat in 2011, Ray Allen's three-point shot that gave the Heat a win in Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs in 2013 and Tim Duncan and the Spurs winning the title last season. (See the full spot here.)
"The Greatest Endings" was directed by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, 2009).
It is the fourth installment of the league’s “Lessons in Storytelling” campaign.
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