Meet The Nopers: State Farm's Rejected "Long Lost Basketball Siblings"

From the non-fictional Zeke Randolph to dapper Detective Maurice Cole to Mason "Mason Plumlee" Plumlee, a complete run-down of lost NBA siblings.
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We all know and have begrudgingly allowed the State Farm NBA Long Lost Siblings ad series, which started with Chris and “Cliff” Paul and later evolved into an expanded universe capacious enough to include John Stockton in a fake mustache. Now with the company’s Meet The Hoopers ads, it seems that the emphasis has shifted from “assist” having both basketball and insurance implications towards a more avant-garde “DeAndre Jordan might be funny dressed as a woman” approach to State Farm’s advertising diegesis.

This triumph of brand leverage was not as linear or as well-planned as it appears on TV. Several NBA long lost sibling concepts ended up on the cutting room floor during the campaign. These are their stories.

Zach and Zeke Randolph

The scene: A stretch of Mississippi State Route 305 just south of Lewisburg. From the volume of cicadae and buzzing flies, it is clear that this is a swelteringly hot August day. Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph wipes his brow with a bandana, squints at the glowering sun, and turns to frown at the upturned hood of a quite obviously overheated ‘75 Coupe Deville.

“Fuck it,” he says, briefly checks to see if anybody is around to hear it, then quietly, but with a great deal of intent, sings the State Farm jingle in his signature achingly beautiful classically-trained countertenor. Just then Zeke Randolph, Zach’s exact duplicate—well, except that he’s  decked out in immaculate polyester Western apparel, right down to his steer skull bolo—appears from out of a nearby thicket, riding a donkey at a lazy amble. Without stopping or slowing or turning or really moving his lips much as he rides past Zach, Zeke says, “Looks like you got trouble. Hop on if you like. Winnie ain’t look like much but she gets the job done.”

As Zach pauses to consider this offer, Zeke’s phone, a Motorola suitcase model cell, rings. Zeke answers, “You got Zeke. Don’t call me,” and abruptly hangs up. After a brief pause, Zach calls after him, “Hey man, you work for State Farm?” To which Zeke replies, truthfully and in a normal conversational tone that by no means bridges the widening distance between them, “no sir I do not.”

Why it never became a State Farm commercial: it was not a commercial. It’s a real thing that happened in real life. Zeke Randolph is not fictional. — BJ

Pete and Patrick Beverley

The Scene: Pete Beverley, a mild mannered low-level State Farm employee, is helping Rockets pest/point-guard Patrick Beverley understand some arcane car insurance minutia. They decide to play a quick game of 21 in Patrick’s driveway and Pete, wearing his khakis and State Farm polo shirt completely destroys Patrick Beverley, who is admittedly somewhat offensively limited. That is not the case for Pete Beverley, who systematically takes Patrick Beverley to school, one of those old fashioned turn of the century schools where it was okay for the teacher to slap you around when you mixed up the order of the Ten Commandments.

Why it never became a State Farm Commercial: It did, it’s just locally broadcast. And not in Houston. — AS

Mason Plumlee and Mason Plumlee

The scene: Originally intended to be Mason Plumlee and his eye patch wearing alter-ego “Logan Plumlee,” in which “Logan,” played by Mason Plumlee, rescues a cat from a tall tree while “Mason” nods in silent approval. The project was immediately scrapped when it was revealed on set that Mason Plumlee was capable only of saying “I’m Mason Plumlee,” even while playing the role of Logan Plumlee. Also while playing the equally non-speaking role of Mason Plumlee.

Why it never became a State Farm commercial: “I’m Mason Plumlee.” CUT! “I’m Mason Plumlee.” Okay, Mason… “I’m Mason Plumlee.” Yeah see, the thing is… Mason… “I’m Mason Plumlee” Yeah okay. Okay Mason. I see that. Okay. — BJ

Randy and Rodney Stuckey

The Scene: Randy Stuckey is wearing a sleeveless Slayer t-shirt, authentically ripped jeans, and sandals with socks. He is drinking Natty Ice from a “World’s Greatest Dad” mug. We cut to a group of coddled multi-ethnic millennials in form-fitting hoodies as they begin to sing the “Like a good neighbor” jingle for an ironic laugh. Randy Stuckey appears out of nowhere, almost as confused as the millennials. After the initial confusion, Randy proceeds to just hang around and watch reruns of late-70s sitcoms. Occasionally he tries to teach the millennials some generic lessons about life, even though everything he says is just horrible and excruciating to listen to. At no point is Indiana Pacers guard Rodney Stuckey mentioned, although Monta Ellis’ name comes up in passing.

Why it never became a State Farm Commercial: At some point all the millennial actors accidentally died. — AS

Tim Duncan and Jim Duncan

The Scene: Tim Duncan and Jim Duncan approach a distressed homeowner whose car, in the driveway, has been crushed by a fallen tree. Both Tim Duncan and Jim Duncan are wearing identical Spurs jerseys and jeans. One of them says “I’m Tim Duncan, your insurance will cover the damage to your car,” and the other one says “I’m Jim Duncan, your insurance will cover the cost to remove the tree,” and then they both simultaneously say, “Goodbye.”

Why it never became a State Farm commercial: The exactitude in tone with which Tim Duncan reads his lines as both Tim Duncan and Jim Duncan creates a sort of living uncanny valley, and when the two are combined in the single “Goodbye,” the effect is so intense as to cause all pet dogs within earshot to hide in their respective masters’ bathtubs and keen in unison. — BJ

Steve and Robert Blake

The scene: when the crew realized the Robert Blake murderer-name thing would be a problem on set, one person suggested they call the twin brother character Stan Blake instead. There was a long pause while they all looked at Steve Blake, wearing a fake goatee as his “Robert” costume, and all involved just kind of wordlessly decided that maybe both sides of the premise were a little ill-conceived. Steve Blake still got paid for his time, which is really all Steve Blake wants or needs.

Why it never became a State Farm commercial: Steve Blake being in a national commercial for anything beyond savvy but unconverted Pistons second-unit assists seemed like a stretch. — BJ

Hal and Al Jefferson

The Scene: Al Jefferson is working on his footwork/post-moves, and looking really good at that, when a nearly identical looking man walks up to him.

Al: Oh hello, I didn’t hear you come in. Who are you? You look like me.

Hal: I am the Hal Jefferson.

Al: Would you like to join me while I do basketball for awhile?

Hal: No thank you, I must get back to the office. I work for the State Farm. We’re just a few exits up your local freeway if you ever want to stop by.

Al: Okay.

Hal: Awfully hot today, isn’t it?

Al: Yes, Hal. It is so hot. I am sweating like cats and dogs.

Hal: So too am I.

Why It Never Became a State Farm Commercial: State Farm brass didn’t like that Al Jefferson was practicing his post-moves and not his three-point shot so they killed it at once. Still, they had to admit, albeit grudgingly, that Al Jefferson was the best actor any of them had ever seen. — AS

Blake and Taylor Griffin

The scene: Blake Griffin and Taylor Griffin, without a script, enjoy a pizza together.

Why it never became a State Farm Commercial: because it just seemed a little on the nose for Blake Griffin to have an actual long lost brother who actually works for State Farm. — BJ

Maurice and Norris Cole

The Scene: Dusk. A shape is splayed lifelessly on a cobblestone road. A group of uniformed British police officers in gaudy neon green vests and goofy Scotland Yard-looking hats cluster around the corpse, most of them either shrugging or saying blimey. Enter: a sharply dressed Detective Inspector vaping from a Calabash pipe. He is wearing a Deerstalker hat atop his flat-top. He pulls an ornate pocket watch from a frock coat and nods approvingly.

This is Inspector Maurice Cole, twin brother to the American NBA journeyman Norris Cole, who has just recently swerved into a quaint English oak tree to avoid running over the body of the unlucky man dead on the street. Norris Cole, shocked at the sight of a body in the road, is perhaps even more taken aback by his exact duplicate, identical besides being sartorially superior in every way.

“I say, chap,” Inspector Maurice says to his exact double, “I take it from your Nike trainers and fancy trousers that you’re a Yank, and furthermore I take it by that terrified expression upon your face that you aren’t exactly insured. Well go on, say something then, Cheshire cat got your tongue?” The camera then zooms in on Norris Cole as he says every bad word he ever knew.

Why it never became a State Farm Commercial: It made everyone involved very angry and also it didn’t make sense, which to be fair, was never a problem before. — AS

Gregg Popovich and No I Am Not Doing This

The scene: Yeah no.

Why it never became a: I’m gonna cut you off right there and just say no. — BJ

Eric/Derek Gordon, Andre/Andrew Miller, Jeff/Geoff Teague, Darren/Erin Collison, Evan/Kevin Turner

The Scene: In the finale to the Hoopers saga, a new family moves next door. Crotchety Grandpa Andrew Miller, seductive trophy wife Erin Collison, bratty teen Kevin Turner, cerebral pre-teen Geoff Teague, and world-weary father Derek Gordon. The Hoopers throw a big barbecue to welcome their new neighbors. Everyone is getting along. Teenage son Kevin Love and his new friends Kevin Turner and Geoff Teague listen to The Offspring and smoke pot together. Grandpa Kevin Garnett and Andrew Miller trade stories about The War. Dads Chris Paul and Derek Gordon talk about the Dow and Nasdaq and stuff such as that. Erin Collison and Mom DeAndre instantly become best friends. The families laugh and have a good ol’ time and finally agree it is getting late so they go their separate ways. We fade to black.

Title Card: Ten Minutes Later.

The new family, now adorned in black cat-burglar style garb, quietly storm the Hooper’s house and ransack it, taking valuables such as jewelry and shiny plates before Derek Gordon gives the order to “Burn it...burn it all.” They then kidnap the Hoopers, who are tied up and thrown in the back of an extremely large van. The house is engulfed in flames and the van peels away as the weird evil family cackle darkly.

We hold on the burning house until we see a silhouette. A small silhouette. It is Baby Damian Lillard, who managed to hide and thus escape the mysterious clutches of that rotten family. We hold on Dame’s face, watching him silently swear revenge, looking almost as angry as he was after getting snubbed from yet another All-Star game. We hear the sound of clopping hooves. Dame looks up and there we see Zeke Randolph, atop his donkey. He holds out an outstretched hand. Baby Dame takes it and Zeke hoists him up on the donkey. That song everyone knows from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly plays.

“HYAH!”

The two ride off into the night and you are visited by that warm yet almost embarrassing feeling that at the end of all this shit, maybe,  just maybe, the good guys are going to win this thing.

Title card: TO BE CONTINUED… — AS


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