A Gatorade official yesterday indicated that the brand "had nothing to do" with a social media feud between Thunder F Kevin Durant and Heat G Dwyane Wade regarding a list of the top 10 players in the NBA, according to a tweet by ESPN's Darren Rovell. However, plenty of skeptics believe the back and forth, which stemmed from Durant saying Rockets G James Harden should replace Wade on the list, was less than a pure disagreement. NBCSports.com's Rob Dauster wrote, "This whole Durant vs. D-Wade twitter 'beef' means they're coming out with another Gatorade commercial soon, right?" ESPN's Kevin Negandhi wrote, "Art imitating life or life imitating art? I'm not really buying this KD-Wade back and forth after their Gatorade commercial last year." CVAS Social Sports Consulting's Alex Cervasio: "Looks like @Gatorade is using #socialmedia to fuel this year's @KDTrey5 vs @DwyaneWade." Awful Announcing's official Twitter feed: "Everyone knows this Durant-Wade thing is staged, right? Please don't treat this like it's a real thing. Please." "The Dan Patrick Show" producer Paul Pabst: "We all get this is a setup, right?" (TWITTER.com, 9/25).
IT'S A SET-UP? BUSINESS INSIDER's Cork Gaines noted it is "highly possible that the two are setting the scene for a Gatorade ad since they are both sponsored by the sports drink and have appeared in commercials together in the past." In addition to "just sounding scripted, the timing would also work well for the upcoming start to the NBA season which will almost certainly feature a new Gatorade ad campaign" (BUSINESSINSIDER.com, 9/25). ESPN's Mike Greenberg also thinks it is a ploy for new Gatorade commercials, saying, "When I first read it I thought this was awesome, these two guys are going at it. And then I thought, 'How stupid am I and how stupid must everyone be?' This clearly, to me, is the set-up to whatever is the next incarnation." He added, "If this does not come back into an advertisement of some kind, whether it's Gatorade or something else within the next calendar year, we will issue a formal apology" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 9/25). ESPN's Max Kellerman: "In terms of the beef itself, it's too perfect because the whole Gatorade thing is like, 'This guy's motivating that guy, he's getting up earlier because he's getting up earlier, like two fighters training for each other.' So this seems a little too perfect" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 9/25). Columnist Kevin Blackistone said, "The feud is made-up to sell Gatorade, that's the whole the thing" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/25). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said it is "altogether possible" the fight was "cooked up by an advertising group" ("PTI," ESPN, 9/25). SHERIDANHOOPS.com's James Park wrote the "banter between the two is certainly fun, but it seems awfully staged." The fact that the conversation "takes place with Cinesport is a tell sign (you hire them to talk about what you want to talk about)." It is "probably because that's what they were both instructed to do during the conversation by whoever is planning on marketing this somehow" (SHERIDANHOOPS.com, 9/25).
MAYBE THERE IS MORE TO IT: ESPN's Bomani Jones noted Durant appeared on ESPN2's "Highly Questionable" recently alongside a display of Degree deodorant he was promoting, and Durant's camp "told us we couldn’t ask him about James Harden, and he was quick to throw James Harden into that." Durant also "didn’t seem so interested in selling Degree when he was on with us." Jones: "I wonder how excited he was about selling Gatorade" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 9/25).