Las Vegas is no place to be working outside in early July, but Russell Westbrook and James Harden are all smiles when discussing their sweaty experience last summer.
Westbrook and Harden actually held down two jobs while in Vegas. Their indoor job was trying out for the U.S. Olympic team. Their outdoor job was shooting a pair of commercials with Foot Locker.
In the “Tear Away” commercial, Harden actually got to tear off his clothes — several times — only to reveal identical clothing underneath.
“It was fun,” Westbrook said. “It took eight hours to do, but it was fun. The hardest stuff was (James) pulling the clothes off. Every time he’d pull it off, it’d take like 30 minutes to put back on. So if James messed up a line, he’d have to put (the clothes) back on.”
Harden even had a tear-away beard.
“It was about 120 (degrees),” Harden said. “It was fun, don’t get me wrong. It took about about three hours just to rip off the beard (correctly). It was hot outside, but it was all fun.”
Both ventures were huge successes. Westbrook and Harden wound up winning gold medals with Team USA at the London Games in August, and their Foot Locker commercials so far have combined for more than 1.7 million hits on YouTube.
The other spot was “Yacht” and was filmed along with U.S. Olympic teammate and Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love, a longtime friend of Westbrook’s:
“That ship was already blown up, so that was good,” Westbrook said.
Darren Rovell of ESPN.com said “Tear Away” might be the best spot of the year.
Rovell wrote: “There are plenty of commercials that come across my desk, but the new ad from Foot Locker featuring James Harden and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder edges into the lead for the best spot of the year. … Is it the best ad as far as making you want to buy your gear at Foot Locker? Maybe not. But as far as pure fun goes, it’s a great laugh.”
Asked if any mustard got on his real beard, Harden said: “Nah, but I made sure I took the fake one off.”
- John Rohde