James Harden: he can ball, he can rock the most charismatic beard in the NBA, and he can . . . sing? Well, kind of. In this new spot from BBDO New York for Foot Locker, the Houston Rockets star hits the recording studio to drop his debut R&B single, “Harden Soul” (say it out loud), and it sounds, well, exactly like what you might think a James Harden R&B single would sound like–much to the dismay of Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry, who urges him, “James, please don’t do this” in the 30-second ad.
It’s a funny commercial, but even funnier is the fact that this campaign is twofold: In addition to the snippet of Harden’s tone-deaf warbling that you hear in the 30-second spot, there’s also a full version of the song available as a lyric video on YouTube (highlight: “I work so Harden to be with you / I share my Harden soul with only you”) and even as a $0.99 download on iTunes. One can only imagine that Dirk Diggler’s attempted recording career would have received a similar push if these distribution outlets had been in place when Boogie Nights was released.
Despite lyrics by BBDO New York’s creative team (sorry, Harden fans, he didn’t actually pen the lines, “I wear my shirt open / so you see my chest”) and direction from Jim Jenkins (who previously directed Martin Scorsese in his AT&T spot a few years back), the video for “Harden Soul” is probably not destined to displace “All The Single Ladies” as the best video of all time, but at least we can use this as a reminder the next time an NBA star attempts an ill-conceived musical endeavor.