‘The future is crunk!’ LeBron James meets younger CGI self in ad for crypto company

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THE SUPER Bowl halftime show wasn’t the only place you could travel back to 2003.

In an advertisement for Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange app Crypto.com, LeBron James meets… LeBron James as the grizzled NBA veteran talks to his 17-year-old self about the future and taking chances, while Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” plays in the background.

As the older LeBron flips through young LeBron’s collection of burned CDs, the young LeBron said, “Cordless headphones, you can watch movies through your phone, and y’all got electric cars? The future is crunk!”

He then wonders if he’s ready for the big time. (2003 was the year James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.)

“I can’t tell you everything,” said 2022 LeBron James, “but if you want to make history, you’ve got to call your own shots.”

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Behind the scenes of the LeBron James cryptocurrency ad

The thirty-second advertisement was aired for Super Bowl, whose halftime show also opened with a performance of “The Next Episode.”

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It was directed by Calmatic, who’s previously worked for brands like Nissan. CGI for the film (especially the de-aging effect) was produced by The Mill, a London-based company that previously created a photo-realistic CGI Albert Einstein for Smart Energy.

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Actor Bentley Green played the young LeBron, with a CGI model composited over his actual face.

“How does it feel to be playing the young LeBron James?” said Green in a behind-the-scenes spot. “I mean, it’s me playing my idol! I’m speechless.”

Meanwhile, Crypto.com’s creative director Ben Lay said of James, “He’s such a transcendent figure. But at the same time he brings us a humanity that we can all relate to. And together, we’re bringing together a new generation of builders to create a better version of the internet.”

The ad was produced by James’ own production company, SpringHill, which also produced Space Jam: A New Legacy.

The LeBron James ad was one of many Super Bowl commercials promoting cryptocurrency and NFTs. According to the Los Angeles Times, a 30-second ad spot for the Super Bowl costs $7 million, or around P359.5 million.

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Ahead of the game, however, the Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler appeared in another ad, this time, from Binance, urging viewers to do their own research in Web3 investments amidst celebrity endorsers for crypto.

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