When Gatorade pulled out of negotiations with the can’t miss 18 year old Cavs rookie in 2003, the Coca-Cola co. smartly and swiftly scooped LeBron James up with a six year deal.
“I have been drinking Sprite and Powerade for a long time,” James said in a statement. “I have always admired the way Sprite and Powerade spoke to young people and athletes, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
It was also perfect timing for Coca-Cola who recently stopped running ads with their original young NBA superstar Kobe Bryant.
For the next 10 years, Sprite and LeBron entertained people, young and old, on and off the court, with great commercials (Thirst!), products and events like the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown and Uncontainable Games (which also reunited Kobe, Sprite & LeBron).
Their latest collaboration is a real interesting one and something that even Gatorade never offered Michael Jordan – his own flavor. The new limited-edition Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James marks the first time Sprite has collaborated with a cultural influencer.
“Growing up drinking Sprite, I never imagined I would have my own flavor someday,” James said. “I had a great time working with the Sprite team to turn my favorite flavors into a pretty cool variation of one of my favorite brands. I’m proud of what we created and I’m excited for my fans to try it.”
To celebrate the Sprite 6 mix, here’s 6 of my favorite LeBron/Sprite colaborations.
#6: LeBron & Kobe Coach against each other in the 2013 Sprite Uncontainable Games
After a summer tour and online video submissions, Kobe & LeBron picked a team of international players to compete at All-Star weekend in Houston. LeBron’s team won.
#5: Meet Thirst
It was reminiscent of Penny and Lil Penny but Thirst was the perfect personality to compliment LeBron in his first few Sprite commercials.
#4: Sprite Spark Park Commercial
Shout out to Michael “AirDogg” Stewart who dunks and yells at LeBron in the beginning. The commercial is cool but what was really cool was Sprite and LeBron restoring and fixing over 25 parks across the country. Up to $35k grants were handed out to damaged basketball courts and parks so kids could have a safe place to play basketball.
#3: LeBron is Drake’s hype man at Showdown in Dallas
I’ve never seen a hype man without a mic but it was cool seeing LeBron rap with a not yet super famous Drake in Dallas. Although LeBron wasn’t as good of a hype man as Flavor Flav, Spliff Star or Sen Dog, he’s a lot better than this guy.
#2: LeBron congratulates Kenny Dobbs on one of the best dunk contest performances ever
2 years after the Drake/LeBron rap show in Dallas, LeBron had J. Cole by his side to judge one of the most exceptional dunk contests ever which was held in Orlando during the 2012 NBA All-Star weekend.
#1: Sprite Boys & Girls Club Renovation events with LeBron
I had the pleasure of attending one of these events in Houston and say what you want about LeBron on the court and in some interviews but the joy and interaction between him and the kids and faculty members of these Boys and Girls Club makes you forget about every “bad decision” LeBron has made. Signing with Sprite wasn’t one of them.