Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs have made names for themselves two ways: winning championships and avoiding the press. But “The Big Fundamental” has used his blandness to his advantage in a new Footlocker commercial.
Duncan’s reclusive nature may be a tool to avoid unwanted media scrutiny that could distract the 19-year veteran from his quest for a sixth NBA title. It’s hard to argue with the results, especially when compared to Duncan’s co-star in the spot, Derrick Rose. Despite the fanfare and popularity of playing in the major market of Chicago, Rose has made it no farther than the Eastern Conference Finals, though he has landed a number of high-profile TV ads.
This Footlocker ad proves that Duncan may not be sacrificing much in the way of endorsements by making himself scarce to the media. The commercial works because we think of Tim Duncan as an unexciting recluse, an image that is enhanced because Duncan plays in a medium-sized market and for a coach who treats the media with disdain.
And in the world of social media, the size of a team’s home media market may not impact the marketability of an athlete as much as we might think. While the 2007 NBA Finals set record lows for TV ratings and the Spurs clinched the 2014 title to five-year lows, the recent match-ups have dominated Twitter.
So while we may doubt the potential on-court and commercial success of a yawn-provoking, even-keeled 38-year-old star, Tim Duncan might just be laughing all the way to the bank . . . and maybe even his seventh Finals.
You can follow Nick on Twitter at @Nick_Zobel.