Don't get me wrong, I think the Kia K900 is a spacious, well-appointed large car, and a value at that. But LeBron has made more than $130,000,000, just from playing basketball, in the last decade; the dude has got to have a man cave or something.
But Kia's commercial is far from the most far-fetched where NBA players and cars are concerned. As you'll see below, long before Blake Griffin was pretending his Kia was a horse, pro ballers have been pitching products, and pitching them badly. (It's not car-based, but I would never forgive myself for not dropping the link to this spot featuring all of the 1986 Boston Celtics, shilling for a steakhouse. Horrifying.) Enjoy the carnage, and the rest of the second season.
Wilt Chamberlain – Volkswagen Beetle
King James might have an acre of legroom in his K900, but Wilt The Stilt wasn't so lucky with the original Volkswagen Beetle. Wilt Chamberlain measured out at 7-feet, 1-inch, making him just slightly too large for the love bug.
With this spot, VW employed the same self-effacing charm that made its legendary "Lemon" ad so impactful. (And Billy Cunningham gets a cameo out of the deal.)
Carmelo Anthony – Eastern Motors
Washington D.C.-area Eastern Motors knows what it has with this jingle. That's one hell of a hook. You probably won't believe Carmelo Anthony's half-hearted lip-syncing (and air drumming), but there's a good chance that the song will have you bobbing your head at the end of thirty seconds. Mission accomplished.
Anyway, the formula must be pretty dialed in; Melo's spot is pushing ten years old but Bradley Beal's version from 2014 sounds eerily familiar.
San Antonio Spurs – H-E-B
The San Antonio Spurs may have a two-decade dynasty going, but they're still a small-market NBA team. That means that even big stars, like Hall of Fame locks Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, occasionally get hooked up for local spots.
Witness what I mean in this commercial for grocery chain H-E-B. The two stars (and now-retired Spur's irritant, Bruce Bowen) might not have as much chemistry on camera as they do on the court, but they sure know how to get a deal on road trip snacks.
San Antonio Spurs – Northside Ford
Even with all the stilted acting and off-key singing on this list, no b-baller can match the Spurs' Tiago Splitter for sheer creepy factor. The fact that he's hanging out with teenage girls, and putting them in the cargo area of his SUV, doesn't help either.
You've never heard of Gary Neal. After he delivers his one line you'll promptly forget his name again. Pretty much the perfect local car dealership jock-spot.
Kobe Bryant – Smart Fortwo
Kobe Bryant, a kid in a peanut suit, an elephant, and a Smart Fortwo. Considering how much this commercial probably cost to shoot, it's amazing how totally weird it is. Then again, Smart didn't get to be one of the most derided car brands in America by taking the well-traveled path.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Edmond Hyundai
The good news: You've lucked out and gotten hometown-Thunder players to do a commercial for your Hyundai dealership. In Oklahoma. Great job!
The bad news: You ran out of budget to hire a writer.
The result: A bunch of tall guys inhaling helium and talking in weird voices. Not so much a missed opportunity as it is a sad reinforcement of the car dealer/balloon stereotype. Zero points.
Norris Cole – South Florida Luxury Auto
You know how I know that Norris Cole was one of the least-famous members of the 2013 World Champion Miami Heat? Because in this truly awful commercial, he's identified as "Miami Heat NBA Champion Norris Cole." Hell, he even has to share billing with someone called Tonia Ryan.
This straight-to-YouTube stinker doesn't have any bad singing, but it brings bad acting to a whole new level. So bad it's almost good (but then it gets bad again).