NBA

Porzingis promo pops with Latvian rap homage

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ESPN’s Porzingis spot a slam dunk

The ESPN spot has drawn rave reviews from – among other media outlets – Business Insider, The Big Lead, SB Nation, GQ and fans in general.

Kristaps Porzingis is taking New York by storm.

The emerging Latvian sensation is just 19 games into his NBA career, but is already on his way to becoming an important piece of the puzzle for the New York Knicks.

With Porzingis taking center stage in his ESPN debut this Friday (Knicks vs. Nets, 7 p.m. ET), ESPN’s marketing team came up with a promotional spot centered on him. Lebron James and the Cavaliers face Anthony Davis and the Pelicans in the nightcap (9:30 p.m.).

The energetic Porzingis spot features highlights of Porzingis dunking and shot-blocking, to the tune of a Latvian rap song featuring his name by the duo Transleiteris.

“After Porzingis was drafted, I had heard he loved American hip-hop, so I started searching for a song that would have made sense for him, given his great start to the season,” said Brendan Gillen, ESPN associate marketing director. “That search led to this gem, which blew everything else out of the water.”

Gillen’s colleague, Michael Giblin, ESPN associate writer/producer, Marketing Creative Services, recalled the origin of the project.

“A couple of weeks ago, Gillen sent an email out to the NBA Marketing and Creative Services team titled: ‘When it’s time to do a Kristaps spot. . . ” and shared the great music video by Transleiteris. The entire group loved it and we knew a promo featuring Porzingis against this track would be a fan favorite. Porzingis kept up his extraordinary play, and we had this upcoming window to promote. It was a no-brainer and a lot of fun to create.”

The 7-foot, 3-inch rookie has become a highlight machine, and most importantly, an integral part of the Knicks’ (9-10) attack as they try to keep pace in the Eastern Conference.

“His spectacular start is the driving factor behind all of this,” said Justin Swiderski, ESPN writer/producer, Marketing Creative Services. “He’s a sensation because he’s getting it done as a rookie, under one of the brightest spotlights in sports: Madison Square Garden, New York City. The insight behind this promotional spot is that Kristaps is a reason to tune in and watch right now, for both his popularity and his play.”

So what is the message of the catchy tune? On its social media, Transleiteris provided this English translation of the rap song’s lyrics:


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