By Barry Janoff
December 3, 2015: When a young boy approaches NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook and says, "I'm trying to be just like you," the kid is immediately confronted by a dose a reality served up by ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, TV host/producer Melissa Rivers, talk show personality Dr. Phil, Sports Science's John Brenkus and others.
In the spot from Foot Locker, "Fly Your Own Way featuring Russell Westbrook," the kid's dreams are not so much dashed as brought into focus as he is shown by the various experts how complicated and difficult it is to become a pro basketball player.
The commercial, under the retailer's "Approved" umbrella campaign, supports the release in Foot Locker of the Jordan Brand XX9 Low kicks, which the kid is wearing when he approaches Westbrook. But it's far from being the shoes that make the man.
"Kid,. the odds of you becoming one of the best rebounding guards of all time and a four-time all-star are not very good," says Rose, who played in the NBA for 13 seasons before joining ESPN in 2007.
"From a physiological perspective, you'd have to have the same muscle mass, build, genes, diet," adds Gupta.
The kid gets more bad news from Brenkus, who hosts "Sports Science" segments seen on ESPN.
"Shot mechanics, height, timing, fast-twitch muscle function," says Brenkus.
"You think you have Russell Westbrook's mitochondrial enzyme activity?" asks Gupta. "I'm pretty sure you don't."
Dr. Phil chimes in, "And unless you have Russell's identical emotional makeup there's no way you could match his intensity or clutch factor."
The kid tries to save face by saying, "I didn't mean exactly like Russell."
But the nay-sayers continue with Melissa Rivers, who is part of Fashion Police on E!, relating, "Even if you did play like Russell, you would never have the same sense of style."
Dr. Phil then shares a head-scratching proverb: "You can't put feathers on a dog and call it a chicken."
When the kid asks what that means, his mom appears and says, "I tell him that all the time."
Still confused, the kid's mom explains, "It means it ain't gonna happen, honey."
Fortunately, Westbrook himself revives the kid's broken dreams.
"Don't listen to them," he says. "Just be yourself. I was trying to be like Jalen."
"Really!?" asks a surprise Rose.
"No," says Westbrook. (See the full spot here.)
Foot Locker is supporting with Internet, social media and POP.
Foot Locker also has launched a Jordan Brand Holiday Wish List, described as "the holiday card that delivers." At a location on the Foot Locker Web site, consumers can create a personalized holiday list filled with their favorite Jordan products and share their Wish List via e-mail and social media channels.
Lead agency is BBDO Worldwide.
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