Behind the Music: "Brandon and Monta"
The NBA recently added to its series of commercials showcasing the BIGness of the league with the much-ballyhooed release of "Brandon & Monta". Previous iterations in the campaign told a tale through a merging of slow-motion video and a fast-paced storyline splashed across the screen. This version broke that mold, analogizing the Milwaukee Bucks backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis as a sort of modern day Laverne De Fazio and Shirley Feeney, the televised twosome that ruled the airwaves during the late 70s and early 80s as assembly line workers in the fictional Milwaukee workplace, “Shotz Brewery.”
Every Laverne & Shirley episode opened with some comedic bungling and the infamous glove-on-a-bottle-circling-a-conveyer-belt footage made re-famous by Wayne’s World. Cyndi Grecco provided the introductory track with “Making Our Dreams Come True,” a truly inspirational little ditty that speaks to the blue-collar worker in all of us.
Personally, in the pantheon of sitcom theme songs, I don’t think it matches the greatness of “With a Little Help from my Friends,” the theme song from The Wonder Years as performed by Joe Cocker. But Kevin Arnold was clearly a J-E-T-S fan and very clearly not a bottlecapper from Milwaukee, so the appropriate relevancy just wasn’t there.
“Making Our Dreams Come True” reeks of relevance in relation to the Bucks and, more specifically, the togetherness of Jennings and Ellis. A quick look at the song’s lyrics shows a series of stanzas that might as well have been written for the Milwaukee backcourt. It’s almost as if songwriters Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox were prophetic in their composition of the song.
This 30-second spot was only able to accommodate two stanzas, but those eight lines did a pretty nice job of capturing the collective basketball aura of Jennings and Ellis. Let’s examine.
Give us any chance, we'll take it.
Give us any rule, we'll break it.
We're gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin' it our way.
These lyrics are telling us that Jennings and Ellis possess win-at-all-costs attitudes. Whether it’s splitting the tiniest gap between defenders or seizing the smallest of openings to rise up for a three-pointer in transition, they’ll take advantage of any chance given to them. Outside of some ticky-tack reaching calls and the occasional palming violation, Jennings and Ellis aren’t much for rule breaking, but that’s not to say they wouldn’t go to extreme lengths to secure a victory. Above all else, though, is their joint desire to play the game their way. If they’re going to win, it’s going to be on their terms.
Nothin's gonna turn us back now,
Straight ahead and on the track now.
We're gonna make our dreams come true,
For me and you.
This stanza continues the previously established theme, but with a greater emphasis on the breakneck speed Jennings and Ellis routinely play with. The Bucks are one of the league’s fastest-paced teams with the third-most possessions per game. Much of that can be attributed to the quick tempo both Jennings and Ellis are constantly pushing. It’s this persistent tenacity that will hopefully turn dreams into reality, both for the Milwaukee guards and Bucks fans everywhere.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Gimbel and Fox weren’t actually writing for the current starting guards for the Milwaukee Bucks. But that doesn’t mean that a song written for two female, middlish-aged assembly line employees working in Milwaukee can’t also be completely applicable to a pair of male, younger-aged professional basketballers playing in Milwaukee. We’re talking semantics.
The message is clear: Jennings and Ellis are having fun, fulfilling dreams and doing whatever it takes to win. Whether it’s making a more concerted effort to get to the rim or adjusting their game to better involve teammates, this determined duo is working toward the best possible outcome. And they’re doing it their way.