Through their sports branding consulting firm, HallPass, Mike D’Antoni and Danilo Gallinari are teaming up with American Express for a unique on-line ad campaign. The very well done, warm and fuzzy ads, show how close D’Antoni and Danilo are and give you an idea of why Danilo is one of coach’s favorites on and off the court. The ad gives you a sense of how Gallinari can eventually be a marketing star if he steps his game up and the Knicks become a real winner. Right now he is being oversold: while he is being hailed for hitting the most threes because he takes the most threes in the league, those praising the “rookie” forward are ignoring the fact that he is ranked 45th in three-point shooting, 299th from deuce range ( at 45%) and 100th in free throw shooting at 82%.
If you have been paying attention to the Knicks sideline and doghouse drama, you can also see why some of the vets may be vexed by D’Antoni’s favoritism and rotations based on “feeling” and not merit. Recent comments by Knicks players including Al Harrington and Larry Hughes seem to contradict D’Antoni’s ad in which he says he attempts to create an atmosphere where players treat each other like family. If dysfunction is a prime family trait, then he is probably right. But favoritism behind claims that playing time is doled out based on merit does not foster an atmoshpere for comraderie and group bonding.
Anyway, these ads are sweet.