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NBA debuts new global brand campaign 'That's Game' ahead of 2021 NBA Playoffs

The new campaign demonstrates how the NBA has advanced the game, grown its community and impacted culture throughout the league’s storied history.

Official release

This is more than basketball. It's what connects us all and keeps us coming back for more. That's the NBA. #ThatsGame

NEW YORK, May 21, 2021 – The NBA today unveiled “That’s Game,” its new global brand campaign, which will tip off at the start of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on Saturday, May 22 and continue with the league’s upcoming 75th anniversary season highlighting pivotal moments on-court and beyond, from iconic plays in-arena to the impact players have in the community. The new campaign, created in conjunction with creative agency Translation, demonstrates how the NBA has advanced the game, grown its community and impacted culture throughout the league’s storied history.

“That’s Game” will launch with a series of four television spots narrated by Golden Globe and SAG winning actor, filmmaker, musician and activist Idris Elba set to an original composition by Oscar-winning producer Jon Batiste. Renowned Director Emmanuel Adjei (“Black is King” and “Dark Ballet”) directed the spots, which will air globally in 15 languages, with select markets featuring local celebrities as the voices of the campaign.

“‘That’s Game’ demonstrates more than just the culmination of play – it’s about the moments that have kept fans connected to the game throughout history and will continue to engage them long into the future,” said NBA Chief Marketing Officer Kate Jhaveri. “We are excited to celebrate the incredible plays that leave us in awe and the impactful community work from players and teams, and we look forward to continuing this storytelling into the 75th anniversary season.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the NBA to create ‘That’s Game’ and help tell the story of this game’s impact in culture and around the world both on and off the court” said Jason Campbell, Translation Executive Creative Director. “Every hand that contributed to this work understood that truth, and we are excited to continue unpacking its meaning long into the future.”

The :60 brand spot revisits transcendent moments that have inspired communities of fans around the world, including raising a championship trophy, a draftee achieving his dream of playing in the pros, making a pregame fashion statement, elevating a social justice movement and other bigger than basketball moments. Highlights include:

    • Washington Wizards’ Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, and Minnesota Timberwolves’ D’Angelo Russell showing off their inimitable style.
    • Stephen Curry and The Golden State Warriors being crowned the 2018 NBA Champions.
    • Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant, Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and New York Knicks’ Julius Randle showing off exciting slam dunks.
    • Eight-time NBA All-Star Vince Carter’s legendary 360 windmill dunk in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest and the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell paying homage to Carter in the contest 18 years later.
    • Boston Celtics’ NBA All-Star Jaylen Brown, who is on the front lines of the movement for racial equality, wearing “Liberation” on his jersey during the NBA Restart and the Orlando Magic, who have prioritized supporting youth in the central Florida community, connecting arms together at center court as the league and players advocated for social change this past year.

The first Playoff spot will continue this trend, reminding fans why NBA playoff moments are so special. The campaign will be supported across high-impact media and celebrated through a number of fan engagement activations, including:

  •  “NBA House” – during the postseason, some of the most relevant social content creators and influencers will come together in a LA-based “NBA House” to create exciting social moments, inviting fans into the cultural epicenter of the NBA Playoffs with custom content and programming.
  • “Catch the Game” watch-and-win promotion – The league will host a watch-and-win promotion encouraging fans to tune in to receive a chance to win some of the most coveted NBA in-person experiences across the league’s marquee events during the final two rounds of the Playoffs, including a trip to NBA All-Star 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio and NBA Finals 2022, among other valuable prizes and experiences.
  • Fortnite partnership – In addition to NBA outfits for all 30 teams on sale in the Item Shop later today, beginning on May 25, Fortnite players can head to the game’s “Creative Mode” for an opportunity to visit the NBA Welcome Hub for more NBA-related experiences and content surrounding the campaign. Additionally, the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell and the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young will share their player “locker bundles,” revealing their personal favorite items to “wear” when they play Fortnite.
  • UnitedMasters – partnering with UnitedMasters’ talented roster of artists such as Tobe Nwigwe to craft unique content supporting and defining “That’s Game”

As part of the league’s ongoing social justice commitments, the “That’s Game” campaign will look to tell stories across league and team platforms around our recently announced Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion,  investments in Black communities through the NBA Foundation and advocacy for policy change through the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition.

The State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament concludes tonight at 9 p.m. ET with the Memphis Grizzlies visiting the Golden State Warriors on ESPN.  The 2021 NBA Playoffs tips off tomorrow with a doubleheader on ESPN as the Miami Heat visit the Milwaukee Bucks (2 p.m. E.T.) and the LA Clippers host the Dallas Mavericks (4:30 p.m. ET).

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