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Jordan Brand might just have started new wave of NBA lockout ads

Harking back to league's last delayed season, advertiser looks on the bright side of the hoops labour conflict.

No one who follows pro basketball is happy about the NBA lockout, but one small silver lining might just be a few more funny ads. This new Jordan Brand spot from Wieden + Kennedy, New York, gives a peek at what all-stars Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony are doing to keep in shape—playing everywhere from New Orleans church leagues to sweaty bearded hipster pick-ups in Brooklyn.

It’s not the first time Wieden + Kennedy have weighed in during a lockout. Back when the 1998-’99 NBA season was delayed due to a labour dispute, starting in February ’99, the agency created a slew of spots for the Swoosh starring the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee, among other celebs, that played off the classic FAN-tastic tagline of the usual NBA ads.

Sprite also got into the act with spots starring San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan and then-Detroit Piston Grant Hill offering their service as general helpers in high places. All you had to do was call 1-800-TALL-MEN.

But not everyone will be smiling if the season’s delay continues, even if there’s a wave of cheeky ads on the way. Disney, parent company of ESPN, ABC and TNT, has paid about $930 million for the right to broadcast games, with the expectation of earning more than $1 billion in advertising revenue. No games, no premium ad revenue. Al Moffat, president and CEO of agency Worldwide Partners says if the lockout ends quickly, the NBA will suffer only short-term damage to its reputation and marketability, but a lost season could set its reputation back years, resulting in “a lost decade.”

Yikes. Hey, at least this ad’s pretty funny, right?