“When Larry Met Stanley” | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

“When Larry Met Stanley”


The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Best Original Film or Series: Short-Form


The NBA launched a creative and first-of-its-kind social content initiative to drive awareness and excitement leading up to and throughout the 2023 NBA Finals, which tipped off on June 1. As part of the campaign, the NBA developed a short-form film where old friends met again in an original content skit titled “When Larry Met Stanley”. This submission details the strategy and execution of this short-form film.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

While traditional championship trophy tours have been executed in the past, the NBA reimagined this campaign by developing a compelling story arc, orchestrating jaw-dropping experiences and deploying best-in-class social media content strategies that drove elevated engagement and consumption. The unique ‘bucket list’ theme gave the NBA’s championship trophy a distinct identity and the content a purpose, which resonated with a global audience of sports fans.

“When Larry Met Stanley” is an example of finding a unique way to bring iconic trophies together, promote awareness of and tune-in for the NBA Finals and to interact directly with fans—all through storytelling in a short-form film.


The NBA launched a first-of-its-kind social media campaign to drive awareness and excitement for the 2023 NBA Finals. The campaign, titled The Larry O’Brien Trophy’s NBA Finals Bucket List, was designed to use the NBA’s championship trophy to connect with core and casual NBA fans around the world in a memorable way, ultimately driving attention and tune-in for the conclusion of the NBA Playoffs and 2023 NBA Finals. As part of the ‘Bucket List’, Larry interacted with global celebrities, attended the world’s most popular events, and visited iconic landmarks all of which was captured and distributed to fans around the world across the NBA social media platforms.

One of the Larry O’Brien Trophy’s priority Bucket List items was to “meet” the NHL’s Stanley Cup—which is how the short-form film “When Larry Met Stanley’’ was born. With a play on the classic 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally”—featuring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan—the goal was to bring two legendary trophies to life as they travel around New York City and delight fans along the way. The film promoted both the upcoming NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Final, which started a couple days apart.

Strategy & Execution

First, @nbafinalstrophy posted its updated Bucket List on X listing “Meet the Stanley Cup” as one of the remaining items. Then, @StanleyCup jumped in and asked “lunch soon?”

The NBA got to work and developed a script and production plan for a short-form film around Larry meeting Stanley.

At the site of one of the legendary scenes from “When Harry Met Sally”, the Larry O’Brien Trophy and the Stanley Cup enjoyed sandwiches at the same table at Katz’s Deli. They were joined by new friends—MLB’s Commissioner’s Trophy and MLS’s Philip F. Anschutz Trophy ahead of the pinnacle of their seasons.

Before Larry and Stanley’s iconic moment at the Deli, the pair traveled around NYC together. They visited Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow, Times Square and even took a ride on the subway together—interacting with fans along the way.

The NBA worked with the aforementioned leagues and Katz’s Deli to execute this unique film. Content was captured using phones and higher-end cameras. The film was then edited within a couple days and released on @nba social and digital platforms—along with ancillary content from the shoot. @NHL also helped to support both the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals.


  • NBA
  • NHL
  • MLB
  • MLS
  • Katz's Deli


  • The Larry O’Brien Trophy
  • the Stanley Cup
  • MLB’s Commissioner’s Trophy
  • MLS’s Philip F. Anschutz Trophy


Bob Carney
Senior Vice President, Social and Digital Content

Adam Fedorko
Vice President, Social and Digital Content Creation

David Thomas
Vice President, Content Management and Operations

Ashley Atwell
Associate Vice President, Social and Emerging Media Lead

Heather Messer
Senior Director, Event Operations, Event Administration Lead

Justin D’Apolito
Director, Social Content Lead

Peter Richter
Director, Content Design Lead

Leah Berry
Senior Manager, Social and Digital Content Creation Management

Brian Boehler
Senior Manager, Field Operations

Jake Freeman
Senior Manager, Social Content, Content Planning Lead

Elias Williams
Manager, Social Content, Content Planning - Promotional Content

Craig Teifert
Senior Producer

Anthony Kuzviwanza
Senior Producer

Sherman Gomez
Senior Editor

James Johnson
Senior Editor

Jeff Leong
Video Coordinator

Zuri Pavlin
Video Coordinator

Gerard Nocera
Senior Production Assistant

Amanda Thorn George
Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships, Social Impact and International Communications Lead

Stuart Bryan
Senior Director, Global Partnerships and Corporate Communications Lead

Mark Pozin
Senior Director, International and Youth Basketball Communications

Jacinda Ortiz
Senior Director, Media, STC and Entertainment Communication

Devon Garden
Senior Manager, NBA 2K and G League Communications

Katerina Kienle
Senior Manager, Communications

Kevin Alonzo
Manager, Digital Media, DTC and Elite Basketball Development Communications

Kelsey Boyd
Manager, Corporate, Social Impact, Diversity & Inclusion Communications

Eyasu Delesa
Manager, Digital, Media and Player Programs Communications

Chris El-Dabh
Manager, Marketing & Global Partnerships Communications

Karel Calcote
Associate Manager, Social Impact, Player Development and Fantasy & Gaming Communications

Kim Clark
Vice President, Global Fan Marketing Lead

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.