If you watched last night’s Mavs game, then you saw Mark Cuban’s AT&T Uverse Live commercial about 200 times. No exaggeration. I was going to say 4,000 times, but that’s clearly an exaggeration. I’ve written about this over-aired commercial before, wondering why a billionaire would allow a telecommunications company to mock his bald spot in a television commercial. When a commercial airs as frequently as this one does, it’s impossible not to break it down shot by shot, frame by frame. It’s like reindeer and the Sami people of northern Russia and Scandinavia. The Sami have something like 1,000 words for reindeer. You know why? Because the Sami don’t get to watch basketball on TV. They are forced to watch reindeer on TV. As a result, they get really into reindeer. So it is with me and this Mark Cuban commercial.
The first observation I’d like to make (or second, if you count the observation about the bald spot, which you probably should) is that the premise of this commercial signals the end of civilization. As you are no doubt aware, the storyline goes like this: Cuban is watching basketball at home. The doorbell rings. He picks up his iPad and continues to watch basketball as he greets his visitor (David Robinson). Then the chain of events repeats.
If I came to your house and you answered the door while watching basketball on your iPad, I wouldn’t ask, “What’s this?” as David Robinson does in the commercial. I would say, “What the hell is your problem? You can’t put down that screen for the 60 seconds it takes to answer the door and warmly greet your olâ€™ friend Tim? Don’t you have Uverse? Do you not know how to pause television? I bet you didn’t even read Fahrenheit 451 during the Big Read last year. I bet you go to your kids’ soccer games and stare at your phone on the sidelines. You’re one of those people, aren’t you? Listen, I’ve changed my mind. I gotta go. I think I’ll go over to my friend Ahkebeaivi’s place. He’s Sami. I’ll watch reindeer with him. Jerk.”
That’s the first (or second) observation. The second (or third) one is this: as you can see from the above screen grab, in Cuban’s TV room he has hanging on a wall a blue basketball jersey. And this blue basketball jersey has neither a name nor a number on it. Are you kidding me? To restate: the guy is a billionaire. Okay, fine. He doesn’t care if people make fun of his bald spot. I guess I can buy that. But surely he can afford to, like, hop on a Heritage Auction of sports memorabilia and snap up a bona fide NBA basketball jersey. That night Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points? If I were Mark Cuban, I’d own that jersey, and not only would it be signed, but on the side of the display frame there would be a speaker with a button that would call Wilt’s cellphone so that whenever I wanted, I could hit that button and go, “Hey, Wilt, tell me that story again about the night you poured in 100.” Or, if that’s not possible, I would just go up to Dirk one day at practice and say, “Hey, Kaiser Fundunkenschlammin, will you sign this jersey for me?”
For now, that’s all I got. But the Mavs’ first game in the Western Conference playoffs is Sunday. I’m sure after another 200 viewings of that commercial, I’ll have some more thoughts.