A series of playoff-themed ads that juxtapose stars of the past (Dr. J, Michael Jordan) with standouts of the present ( Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson), capped by the slogan "It's All Good."
In replacing its 10-year-old "I Love This Game" campaign, NBA execs were looking for a hip catchphrase that would also connect fans to the league's stellar legacy. "The play on the court has always been good, from Bill Russell to Kobe Bryant," says NBA Entertainment executive vice president Gregg Winik. "It's been good in the past, and it's still good now." Yet the selection of the slogan is quizzical, not the least because of its hip-hop roots: Rappers in the early '90s used the phrase with an undercurrent of defiance; it represented an assertion of status (the street life: It's all good). The motto has since seeped into pop culture at large, turning up everywhere from yoga classes (where it's used as a faux-Buddhist mantra) to hit sitcoms (it was a punch line in a Will & Grace episode). But even in these watered-down contexts, the phrase doesn't suggest the rah-rah spirit implied in the NBA spots. "If somebody makes a mistake—like, 'Man, I forgot your shoes'—I say, 'It's all good, we straight,' " says Lakers forward Robert Horry. "But it's not used like, 'Hooray, it's all good.' That's just so corny."
Though it's always nice to see vintage footage of hoopsters, the misused catchphrase makes the campaign feel comically behind the times.