Daily Dirt: ‘Off the backboard, off the scoreboard’ … the stuff of legends

Daily Dirt for Monday, Jan. 16, 2023

I hate to hear someone say, “There’s nothing on television to watch.” Obviously, those folks are not fans of quality commercials. The program you are watching may be a stinkeroo, but there’s always that chance a commercial during it is hall of fame material. Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 501 of The Daily Dirt.

1. I may be in the minority, but I’ve always enjoyed a quality TV commercial as much as a quality program. I know most of you are immediately scoffing at that thought, but consider my three all-time favorite commercials using sports figures and see if you don’t begin rethinking the subject.

Gold medal: “McDonald’s: The Showdown.” Remember those commercials that pitted Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird playing a game of “horse” for a Big Mac”? They were not only humorous but also strangely accurate considering Jordan’s well-known competitive nature. When the original commercial aired during the 1993 Super Bowl, it pretty much took on a life of its own. The next day, millions of guys were already quoting the lines, “Off the backboard, off the scoreboard.” 

Silver medal: “Hey, Kid.” I thought long and hard on which one to give the gold medal — the aforementioned Jordan vs. Bird classic or the 1979 favorite when Mean Joe Greene tosses “the kid” his jersey after a game for a Coke.

Bronze medal: “Li’l Penny.” Those Lil Penny commercials by Nike that first appeared in 1995 and involved the voice of Chris Rock were equally the stuff of legends. When it sounds like “Li’l Penny” is complaining and talking trash, that is quality advertising. That is quality television.

2. While watching Sunday’s Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins NFL playoff game, it was hard not to think about recovering defensive back Damar Hamlin. His incredible — and ongoing — comeback from the cardiac arrest he suffered on the field less than two weeks earlier might wind up being the sports story of the year. And it’s only January.

3. I am not a golfer. I haven’t played the game since late in the summer of 1979. However, that does not mean I don’t enjoy watching the final round of the major tournaments — like the Masters. Knowing that, and my fondness for a good commercial, I love the current ads for the upcoming Masters featuring the Three Degrees’ hit song from 1974, “When Will I See You Again?”

Those commercials almost make me want to pick up a golf club and head to the driving range. The key word there was “almost.”

Steve Thought O’ The Day
Never buy an imitation Pop Tart. Would you buy a fake Honus Wagner T206 rookie baseball card?

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He reportedly once filmed a commercial during which he tossed his reporter’s notebook to a kid in exchange for a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.

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