In the near-decade since Nike’s classic Live Manu Play Ginobili there hasn’t been an iconic Manu Ginobili commercial. Certainly the appeal of the hilarious ensemble performance art pieces that are the Spurs HEB commercials is impossible to ignore, but there hasn’t been anything Manu-centric for fans of The Argentine to geek out over since he had a full head of hair.
It’s a look behind the scenes of an aging athlete’s struggle to stay in shape and productive. There’s an empty gym, a solitary player, and the work that needs to be done. How does he know when it’s enough? Can it ever be enough? Is the question about the practice or the career? For every question, the answer for now is “Un poco mas.”
From the tone of the ad, to the subtle score that builds and eventually recedes, to the repeated phrase “a little more,” this commercial is a near-masterpiece that’s both touching and inspirational. The Spanish at the end translates to, “When no one else can ask anything more from you, ask yourself. Win from within.”
It’s rare for an advertisement to successfully negotiate the themes that make this one great without becoming schmaltzy. Rarer still for such a commercial to feature one of the Spurs. Some of the moments they included are just perfect: hitting a three in practice and putting his hands on his knees to rest before turning his head to look at the next ball to shoot while sweat falls from his face; sitting down next to Patty Mills after being taken out of last season’s final playoff game — and just after these moments, comes the refrain of un poco mas. He has a little more to give.
As we begin yet another season which could end up being Manu’s last, I find myself feeling grateful for the creative team behind this Gatorade spot. It’s understated, powerful, and profound. It captures this phase of Ginobili’s career perfectly, and helps me remember to enjoy every bit of what’s left for us to share with him.