The Week’s Best in Sports Advertising

This Week's Best in Sports Ads: The Grinch and J.R. Smith Team Up

This week in sports advertising, Translation helps fans celebrate alongside their favorite NBA stars, the Grinch and J.R. Smith exchange pleasantries, and Nike continues flexing its storytelling superiority.

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1. The Grinch and J.R. Smith (Illumination Entertainment)

Agency: ESPN CreativeWorks

Athlete / Influencer: J.R. Smith

The Grinch isn’t only stealing Christmas this year, he’s also snatching J.R. Smith’s pride.

To promote the new Grinch movie, Illumination Entertainment teamed up with the Cavaliers star for an ad as unique as J.R. In the spot, the Grinch takes a few jabs at Smith, who’s apparently not so great at taking a joke. Oh, and of course, he’s shirtless.

2. Nike — It’s Only Crazy Until You Do It

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

Athlete / Influencer: LeBron James

In May of 2003, LeBron spoke at a press conference about the pressure and expectations of entering the NBA as an 18-year-old prodigy. “I just hope that they accept me for who I am as a basketball player, especially who I am as a person.”

The spot from Wieden+Kennedy taps into the nostalgia of LeBron’s illustrious career, while also reminding everyone that he’s risen above the loftiest of expectations not only as a player but also as a role model for an entire generation. It was only crazy until LeBron did it.

3. State Farm — RoboAgent

Agency: Translation

Athlete / Influencer: Chris Paul, James Harden, & Oscar Nunez

State Farm takes a swing at their competition, who attempt to supplement a genuine relationship with bots and automation. RoboAgent’s lack of human authenticity creeps CP3 and Harden out. Nonetheless, the Rockets’ stars point out that it does bear some resemblance to their beloved agent, Oscar Nunez.

4. CBS Sports HQ — Paper Towel

Agency: barrettSF

Infomercials—love ‘em or hate ‘em they’re a staple across American advertising culture. CBS Sports HQ takes a blast into the past with a series of ads by barrettSF that poke just the right amount of fun at a different era of advertising, while cleverly promoting their new network.

The message? ‘Paper towels’ offer stronger, more absorbent sports coverage, and will wipe up the mess of other sports networks, giving you exactly what you want: highlights, news, scores and above all else, sports.

5. NBA — What’s The Best Way To Celebrate

Agency: Translation

Athlete / Influencer: Filayyy

Quieting the crowd, hitting them with the shimmy, wagging the finger, throwing up the 3-point goggles. Most of us will never know the joys of playing in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pull out our favorite celebrations.

In this spot, the NBA teamed up with Translation to bring out the fun in the game while highlighting a few of our favorite players’ favorite moves. How do you celebrate?

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