In a ceremony Monday night, the Los Angeles Lakers will retire Kobe Bryant’s two jerseys—both No. 8 and No. 24—an honor that has never been received by any other player in the NBA, not even Michael Jordan.
To coincide with that history-making event, Nike has brought back the Kobe and LeBron puppet campaign it first launched in 2009 with the commercial “Three Rings.”
In “Three Rings,” Kobe bragged about his then-three championship rings, annoying the LeBron James puppet—who is just trying to play his video game. The Kobe puppet repeatedly asks if anyone has seen his “three championship rings” until the LeBron puppet reminds him that they are in the championship-rings display case that Kobe keeps just for that purpose.
Fast-forward eight years, and LeBron now has three championship rings of his own, while Kobe gained two more before retiring in 2016.
In “Burden,” the first of three new ads, Kobe and LeBron sit on a beach together as Kobe brags: “LeBron, I am saving you an incredible burden. You should be grateful that you’re not retiring two jerseys like myself,” as both jerseys wave in the wind on a clothesline behind them.
In “Uncle Charlie,” Kobe imagines a young child asking which Kobe was better, No. 8 or No. 24?
(My answer? Neither. They were both great, and I am not even a Kobe fan, but I respect his game.)
In “Handicrafts,” Kobe discusses how his jerseys dream of retirement, “a special time when my jerseys can look back and reflect on all they’ve accomplished in their careers as my jerseys.”
All three clips are funny and leave me wondering what they will do when LeBron decides to retire.