(Commercial) Breaks of the Game: Supernatural


 ’People tell about a super fly man, don’t go one on one with Scottie Pippen

If you’ve ever heard the tales about the 6’8 legend who ran with the mighty Bulls of Chicago, you know that sentence to be true. He was a bad mother… ‘shut yo’ mouth’.

Talking about Pip, but OK don’t believe me then, roll tape…



See, I wasn’t doing no jive talking.

Five seconds into that commercial an image is seen walking the city streets of Chicago as an L train rattles along overhead. SUPERNATURAL bursts onto the screen. Our hero dressed in all black everything, standing head and shoulders above the throng of pedestrians he walks amongst and looking very much like a man on a mission. Where’s he’s headed only he knows? A brief stop under the lights of the Chicago Theatre (possibly to get his bearings), then cuts to the next scene where our protagonist makes his approach to another Chicago landmark, the United Center. Inside the arena locker room he switches his trench coat number for a number 33 jersey and a brand new pair of Nike Air Way Ups, Supernatural makes his way to the court, where we are treated to scenes of him making damn fools of people. After cleaning up on the hardwood, he’s back to his black garb and back out on the streets.

Has a minute long Nike sneaker commercial ever had more funk and badassery?

The Air Way Up shoe originally released in 1995 and made it’s return last year to little acclaim, unless you were one of the 80′s babies like me that were waiting eighteen years for Nike to retro it. Pippen never actually wore the featured black version of the shoe to play in during the 95-96 season. If he ever did wear them in game, it may have been during the pre-season like his teammates Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc did. The black/white colour way was well represented by other Nike spokesman throughout the league, Farragut Academy phenom Kevin Garnett wore them during his rookie campaign and even former Bull Horace Grant laced them up. Some other notable players who wore them were Vlade Divac, Vin Baker, Marcus Camby and Chicago product Juwan Howard.

I reached out to the up-loader of the video Poetri The Poet, on the off chance that he possibly could shed some light on the advertisement which I never knew existed until two days ago.

It was a campaign I worked on with my brother, Jimmy Smith, who at the time was with Weiden & Kennedy advertising company. They had a theme of black exploitation films for NBA basketball stars. They brought me and a guy named Michael Starr (Note: NOT the Alice in Chains bassist) to produce and write the song. I wrote the lyrics and Michael made the music and together we produced the track. We hired a Curtis Mayfield sound alike (who actually toured with Curtis Mayfield) and the rest is history. It was a limited run National Commercial. Only ran for MAYBE 13 weeks.”

Poetri’s explanation is telling as to why I would never have seen it prior, I’m guessing I’m not alone.

Now if the name Poetri the Poet is familiar, there is good reason for that, as I also found out. A Tony award wining Poet and actor, he has appeared on Oprah, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Bones. The veteran Thespian has also appeared on Broadway in the Def Poetry Jam and toured nationally and internationally. President Obama even extended an invitation to him to attend the first annual Spoken Word event at the White House.

The founder of Los Angeles’s Da’ Poetry Lounge, one of the largest ongoing open mic poetry venues in the nation (the venue averaging around 500 people every single Tuesday night for the last 16 years) also hosts the Spoken Funk, a poetry/comedy show in Hollywood that has been going for close to a decade  (Head to Spokenfunk.com for more info).

When he’s not busy plying his trade at both venues he’s busy with his day to day gig “I currently work for Amusement Park Entertainment. I am a senior writer, writing movies, TV shows, video games, apps and what have you. And most importantly, I give all the glory to my LORD, Jesus Christ.

So that brings an end to the tale of Supernatural and his Air Way Up shoes.

Can you dig it?


Scottie Pippen 'Bulls Eye' poster produced by the legendary Costacos Brothers.

Pip sporting the Way Ups in this rare ‘Bulls Eye’ poster produced by the legendary Costacos Brothers.

You can purchase the above poster from ebay here and if you’re interested to find out more about Poetri you can check him out here on twitter and facebook.


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