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Cleveland Cavaliers

Irving stars as basketball sensation 'Uncle Drew' in online Pepsi campaign

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 18, 2012

Kyrie Irving might be even more creative off the basketball floor than he is on it. The reigning Rookie of the Year wrote and produced an online commercial for Pespi MAX that launched this morning.

In the five minute film, Irving plays an old man called "Uncle Drew" who staggers out onto the court, only to eventually take over the pickup basketball game. His father, Dred, and his sister, Asia, each has a cameo in the film, as does one of Irving's closest friends.

Irving, 20, is listed in the credits as the writer and producer. The film was shot in New Jersey, not far from Irving's childhood home, shortly after the Cavs' season ended.

"We knew the Rookie of the Year was coming up, so we wanted to have something to capture the excitement of that," Pepsi spokesman Sam Duboff said. "Kyrie came up with the character, the back story, the voice ... he collaborated with the whole thing. It was such a fun idea and he was so into it, we had to make it happen."

Duboff said it is a digital media advertisement and Pepsi has no plans of making it into a television commercial.

"You get more creative freedom online," Duboff said. "We sell this as a short film almost. Rather than try and cram a story into a 30-second spot, we can bring it to life and let the story build like it’s suppsed to. As a brand, it gives us more room to make something really special for our fans."

Irving sat in makeup for three hours to create the look and Duboff said he improvised most of the lines. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert tweeted Friday about the "young blood" lines Irving kept uttering, referring to the kids on the court.

His role as an old man is strikingly similar to the roles LeBron James played in his Nike commercials, but Duboff said the James series had nothing to do with Uncle Drew.

"This is very much just about Kyrie," he said.

 

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