Every year, November sees the holiday spirit spread an entire month ahead of schedule, and the NBA is no slouch— especially when it comes to festive music. It published a commercial promoting its Christmas Day uniforms last Thursday, the latest of several carol-themed NBA videos posted over the past few years. The clip has officially gone viral in only four days, amassing a staggering 6.1-million views as of this writing and earning it wide media coverage.
Following up on the internet firestorm it sparked, the NBA also released a behind the scenes video showing us just how they did it. As expected, the shot timing was computerized, but the shots themselves weren’t (NBA players can make shots? Shocker!). Jonathan Klein, the same director behind a different NBA musical back in 2012, got the players together in front of a huge green screen during filming. They were recorded making shots individually, and the footage was eventually layered to make it appear like the guys have superhuman shooting skills. Well, more superhuman shooting skills.
It looked like the players, who are normally too busy squaring off during most games to appreciate each others’ jump shots, had a good time.
The Jingle Hoops video builds off the success of a previous musical short that was aired just last year to promote that year’s BIG: Color holiday NBA uniforms. In the earlier video, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Joe Johnson, Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade dribble balls to the tune of “Silver Bells,” with each strike on the court hitting a different note. Unfortunately, it looks like Wade may have had the least fun with this one—he barely does anything. Still, the full effect appears nothing short of spectacular.
Now, we know that most NBA players have the voice of an angel, so the NBA put together another musical video that same year. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, James Harden and Jason Kidd put their Santa hats on and belt out a rendition of “Jingle Bells,” complete with sing-a-long closed captions for the folks back home. It was a nice try, but maybe we’ll stick to our Mariah Carey Christmas album.
Speaking of Mariah, who can forget the Christmas special to end all Christmas specials? Nothing showed off the NBA’s love of musical cheer than Mariah Carey’s holiday visit on NBA TV. She sang “All I Want For Christmas (Is You),” accompanied by several coy-looking players peeking into their gift boxes. Yup, this one’s on repeat for this year.
When Christmas Day 2013 arrives, the Bulls will be squaring off against the Nets, Thunder against the Knicks, Heat against the Lakers, Rockets against the Spurs and Clippers against the Warriors.