Ranking the best commercials with Thunder players

Ranking the best commercials with Thunder players

Sorry, no 'What a Pro Wants' on this list, but there have been plenty of great ones through the years.

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

| May 5, 2024, 6:00am CDT

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

May 5, 2024, 6:00am CDT

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Mark Daigneault admitted the other day he doesn’t watch much NBA Playoff basketball on TV in real time.

“I mean, the commercials are brutal,” he said.

So, what about that AT&T one with SGA and Chet?

“No comment,” Daigneault said.

He later clarified he meant the commercials are brutal because there are so many of them. The media timeouts during the playoffs are longer than the regular season, and watching games on video means no commercials.

“You can fast forward,” Daigneault said.

And yet, his brutal-commercials comment could’ve easily been commentary on the quality of the commercials, too. That includes “What a Pro Wants” featuring Thunder stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren.

Safe to say, we can agree it doesn’t rank among the best commercials featuring Thunder players. Then again, there’ve been some pretty good ones over the year.

Rather than a top-five ranking, let’s take a look at some best-of categories that included Thunder players.


Best commercial featuring Oklahoma City

Impossible to top the spot Nike did with Kevin Durant hitting several locations around the city. 

Shot during the NBA player lockout of 2011, it had the tagline “Basketball Never Stops”, and it starts with a lone conversion van on Shields Boulevard heading north toward downtown. KD is at the wheel, and the entire spot is about him searching for pick-up basketball games. He finds them everywhere from a church to a retirement home.

It’s so cool to see places familiar to just about everyone in OKC.

Plus, you get to see a baby-faced KD.


Best commercial for a local business

Of course it’s an Edmond Hyundai commercial. The car dealership has been using Thunder players in TV ads since the team came to town, so there are lots of options to choose from with players repeating “Edmond Hyundai, Edmond Hyundai, Edmond Hyundai” as fast as they can.

But two of the Edmond Hyundai spots rise above the others.

(Sorry, I can’t pick between them.)

The first is a “Dating Game” spinoff with Nick Collison, Andre Roberson and Mitch McGary. Each is asked a question that is strangely answered with some form of Edmond Hyundai. When McGary is asked to sing a romantic love song, he breaks into the Edmond Hyundai jingle but finishes with some vocal stylings that were clearly unscripted. Roberson can be seen practically falling off his stool.

The other commercial includes Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, Kendrick Perkins and Collison. They’re surrounded by helium balloons, and of course, they start sucking in the helium before singing the jingle. They’re all funny, but Perk is the best. 

“I always wanted to try this,” he says in a very un-Perk voice.

It might not have been funny to a national audience, but around here, that was comedy gold.


Best new commercial

I know you’re shocked that the best new spot is not “What a Pro Wants,” but it does feature Chet Holmgren. In a spot released only a few weeks ago, Holmgren unveils Nike’s new KD 17s. Even though he’s front and center, the voiceover is done by Durant, so there’s some cool banter. 

“You think you could do it?” KD says as Chet is shown in a locker room. “I’m not just talking ball. You think you could put the whole city on your shoulders? Step up there.”

“I know I could do it,” Chet says.

There are a bunch of cool shots of OKC in the spot, too. Skylines. Basketball courts.

Chet finishes by saying, “Even though I follow in the footsteps of a legend, I’m walkin’ my own path.”

Pretty cool.


Best old commercial

“Old” as in featuring players from the first iteration of the Thunder when they were youngsters in the league.

Russell Westbrook and James Harden did a great spot for Foot Locker where Russ accidentally squirts some mustard on Harden’s T-shirt. 

“My bad,” Westbrook says.

“With gear this fresh,” Harden replies, “I always have more than one.”

He pulls off his tearaway pants to reveal a new outfit that looks the exact same. Westbrook proceeds to purposefully squirt mustard on Harden’s shirt again, and he does the tearaway thing again to reveal another new outfit. So Russ tries a different approach, squirting mustard on Harden’s famous beard.

He tears that away, too, to reveal a clean beard, gives Westbrook a glare, then walks away.


Best commercial featuring players before and after they were Thunders

Before Chris Paul came to the Thunder, he did a bunch of State Farm commercials. He’s done a bunch more since he was with the Thunder, but that’s another story.

In 2017, he did a funny one with State Farm agent Cole, played by Oscar Nunez, best known as Oscar the accountant on “The Office.” Cole takes CP3 bowling and gets him cheese fries, then as they’re singing along with some Backstreet Boys in the car, they see a car broken down on the side of the road.

It’s James Harden (past Thunder) and Trevor Ariza (future Thunder, though he never played a game for OKC). They get a ride, and Ariza joins in the singalong, though very badly. 

Much worse, let the record show, than “What a Pro Wants.”

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Jenni Carlson is a columnist with the Sellout Crowd network. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniCarlson_OK. Email [email protected].

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