Kyrie Irving’s “Uncle Drew” Pepsi Viral Video
“They don’t practice the fundamentals anymore,” ‘Uncle Drew,’ NBA Rookie-of-the-Year Kyrie Irving’s senior alter-ego, croaks in his best old man voice.
Judging by his moves in a pick-up game with his “nephew” Kevin, the youngsters need to polish up on their changeovers, fade-away jumpers, reverse lay-ups, and slam dunks. In a four-minute promotional short for Pepsi MAX, Irving went undercover for a sportsmanly bait-and-switch to a group of unsuspecting New Jersey street players. Hobbling onto the court, a disguised Irving watches from a bench until a player gets injured and is forced to sit out. Irving’s “nephew” suggests Uncle Drew play, and to the incredulous looks of the players, the pot-bellied Irving steps onto the court.
His first play is an air-ball. His second and his third are failed bank-shots. Spectators shake their heads. The fourth shot is a missed pass. Then Irving steals the ball. Gets a sloppy lay-up, and another. He sinks a three–and all hell breaks lose. A transformed Uncle Drew thwarts defenders, forces turn-overs, and slam dunks with one hand. The disbelieving crowd claps, cheers, and whistles.
Cultivating Irving’s crotchety alter-ego was a timely process. Irving underwent a careful, multi-hour outfitting of prosthetic skin to his head, hands, and face. Gray hairs and wrinkles sprouted atop his formerly smooth skin. He practiced his “Uncle Drew voice” and got into character, demanding someone come in and “massage [his] bunions.”
Pepsi snatched up the Australian-American all-star at the close of the 2012 season, where Irving led the Cleveland Cavaliers in his first season off the college court averaging 18.5 points per game in the regular season. The cola brand concocted the Uncle Drew gig as a way to promote its tagline for Pepsi MAX: “a zero calorie cola in disguise.” According to the credits, Irving not only starred as Uncle Drew but also wrote and directed the short, meaning if he ever gets tired of his NBA stint, he might try to play Hollywood’s game.
Watch: “Pepsi MAX Presents Uncle Drew”
Photo from InFlexWeTrust