Cavs players and coaches referred to Kyrie Irving throughout his rookie season as an “old soul.” In his latest venture with Pepsi, Irving shows just how old.
The reigning Rookie of the Year wrote and produced an online commercial for Pepsi MAX that launched Friday morning. In the five-minute film, Irving plays an old man referred to as “Uncle Drew” who staggers out onto a basketball court, only to eventually take over the pickup game. His father, Dred, and his sister, Asia, have 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, about three weeks ago – 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 MAX team brand 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 supposed to. It gives us more room to make something really special for our fans.”
Irving improvised most of his lines, Duboff said, and he gets off a couple of comedic zingers. After the Cavs referred to him this season as “the young fella,” Irving refers to the other players on the court as “young blood,” he mocks a defender for wearing “hospital shoes” and asks someone to rub his bunions.
Irving playing an old man is strikingly similar to the roles LeBron James played in his Nike commercials titled “The LeBrons,” but Duboff said the previous James series had nothing to do with the Uncle Drew character.
“This is very much just about Kyrie,” he said.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.