Issa Rae Stars in New NBA Campaign to Encourage Fan Support

Illustration for article titled Issa Rae Stars in New NBA Campaign to Encourage Fan Support
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

Because of COVID-19, things are definitely different when it comes to professional sports. Major League Baseball teams are in the process of beginning their season, and Opening Day is reportedly set for July 23 and 24. The NFL is also figuring out some steps in order to commence football this season. According to CBS Sports, it’s still to be determined whether fans will be able to attend the games.

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Meanwhile, the National Basketball Association is putting in work to remind fans to watch the sport when the season begins again, and they’re enlisting the help of Issa Rae in order to get their message across.

Per Variety, the Insecure actress, writer and showrunner is working with the NBA on a new campaign designated to “remind fans where basketball left off earlier this year and build new appetites for the restart of the season.”

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In the first of four ads, Rae steps onto an empty court, discussing that “you don’t miss something ‘til it’s gone.” Throughout the one-minute spot, she’s superimposed in clips from various games both in the audience and amongst the players, providing her signature quick-witted commentary.

“It’s all back, but with a slight twist,” she says in the spot. “It’s the game you love, the way you’ve never seen it before...This isn’t the same NBA, it’s a whole new game. But, I think we can all agree we’re glad it’s back.”

Danielle Lee, the league’s chief fan officer, says that the commercials are “absolutely a creative challenge,” and will test their ability to engage their fans while also adding context to the time we’re living in.

“We want to acknowledge the journey we have all been on,” she says, “but also infuse a sense of resilience and excitement and joy.” Why was Rae chosen? Lee tells Variety that the Emmy-nominated star “embodies fun and authenticity, and has an unapologetic way” about her.

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The 2019-2020 NBA season is set to return on July 30, according to the league’s website. This new season will adhere to “stringent health and safety protocols,” and the games will commence in one location: the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

“Teams will compete in three inter-squad scrimmages from July 22-28 in final preparation for the resumption of the season,” the site reads.

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Pronounced "Jay-nuh."

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