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Welcome to ‘NBA Lane Arena,’ Where All Roads Lead to the Playoffs

The latest star-laden short film celebrating the 75th anniversary of the league arrives as the NBA postseason push heats up. Step in the Arena!

Just in time for the postseason, fans are getting another trip to “NBA Lane” where current and former All-Stars, broadcasters, and celebrities gather to celebrate the league’s 75th anniversary season.

Debuting on YouTube and social media platforms Wednesday, “NBA Lane Arena” is a roughly two-and-a-half-minute short film showing more than two dozen familiar faces heading toward the neighborhood arena. The ad will also appear in 15- and three-second TV spots beginning April 9, one week before the NBA Playoffs tip off.

The list of notable faces includes:

If that isn’t enough to intrigue you, there’s even an appearance by the Peeley and Fishsticks avatars from Fortnite, plus a brief glimpse into the metaverse.

“We know that “NBA Lane” has been resonating with our fans,” Kate Jhaveri, the NBA’s Chief Marketing Officer, told Boardroom. “We feel really confident that the 75th anniversary, and [the] “NBA Lane” campaign has been incredibly successful for us.”

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“NBA Lane” spots that debuted before the start of the regular season and before Christmas generated more than 12 million views across NBA social channels and an additional nine million cumulatively across partner and player social accounts, according to league figures. The NBA’s official Twitter account generated 6.4 million of those views in October — making “NBA Lane” one of the 10 most-viewed NBA Twitter videos in its history.

In total, the league said, it drove more than 12 times the viewership of its two previous NBA-wide ad campaigns.

Shot in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, and Cleveland across a two-week span that included February’s All-Star Weekend, “NBA Lane Arena” was directed by Translation Executive Creative Director Jason Campbell. The logistics were challenging, but Jhaveri was excited to see everyone take time out of their busy schedules to support this effort.

“Across the board, we’ve had so many celebrities that are fans of the game that [it] was really great to be able to include them in the story,” she said. “Each of them brought their own personality to the spot, which I think makes it feel even more vibrant, because they’re bringing themselves to the screen. Obviously, the opportunity to spend time with Spike Lee, who’s a total megafan, is awesome. And Ben Stiller really put his own spin on fandom, which I thought was really fabulous. We’ve worked with Issa Rae in the past, so it was a joy to spend time with her.”

These three “NBA Lane” commercials have been about connecting with both core and casual fans alike during this 75th season — from new fans growing up watching Luka and Ja to those who remember Hall of Famers like Shaq, Reggie, and Drexler excel on the court.

The campaign is resonating so well that we’re going to get one more trip to “NBA Lane” as we approach the Finals in June.

The hard part for Jhaveri and the league? Coming up with an even better campaign for next season.

“We’re definitely thinking about all different ways we can tell the stories of our league, players, and teams, whether that’s like ‘NBA Lane’ or through new ways that fans experience the game like in the metaverse or across other platforms and technologies,” she said. “We want to always make sure we’re meeting the fans where they are.”

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