11.29.06

Differing Perspectives On Flash’s Philanthropy

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 8:58 pm by

One of the more annoying commercials of late hasn’t escaped the notice of Stay Free! Daily’s Matt Ransford.

Dwanye Wade pulls up to an urban basketball court in his Navigator, replacing the hoops, flooding the kids with balls, and tossing the keys to the coach. He then squeaks away in the shadow of a tractor trailer on a child-sized bike. The obvious point here is Wade is making such a tremendous sacrifice that he’s got no option other than to ride a shitty little bike home. Put aside the ridiculous idea that Wade doesn’t have the cash to call a cab (or that it’s somehow more virtuous to suffer along with those you’re helping) and you’re left with the notion that people who ride bikes to get anywhere do so because they can’t afford a car. Or a properly-fitting and well-oiled bike, for that matter.

I can’t stand the ad, either, but for entirely other reasons. I found nothing weird about D-Wade on a bike — I see guys on bikes that are too small for them all the time, and besides, he’s a damned athlete. He oughta be cycling home (in fact, so should Shaq. This would’ve been a perfect ad for the Diesel).

My hangups with the spot are two-fold. If Flash is really such a terrific guy, dolling out hoops, balls and Navigators-to-the-kids, I’m happy to hear about it. But the whole staged, highly stylized exercise is less about about giving-something-back and all about selling Navigators. I wasn’t likely to purchase a one anytime soon (having already bought an Escalade from Eddie Griffin —- other than some mysterious stains, it was in perfect condition), but if I was, I’d think twice if I saw D-Wade on TV giving them away so easily. It just makes the rest of us feel like suckers.

The advert’s biggest flaw is the scene that Matt describes as Wade “tossing the keys to the coach.” How do we know he’s a coach? He’s not identified as such, and for all we know, could just as easily be some homeless dude hanging around the playground. Nice work, Dwayne, you’ve just given a $50,000 SUV to some random guy on the street. After the shot of Wade peddling away from the basketball court, we’re shown the Navigator zooming up the same street. Surely I’m not alone in thinking the “coach” is behind the wheel with no passengers in the Lincoln’s roomy seats.

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