What do a fictional prize fighter and a real-life professional basketball game have in common? Everything, when both are delivered to audiences via sister branches of the Time Warner corporate family.
So during Thursday night’s TNT telecast of the NBA showdown between the rival Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, viewers will get not only the game but a good dose of footage and chatter about “Creed,” which will have its red carpet premiere in Los Angeles at about the same time.
The film spinoff from the long-running “Rocky” saga will be introduced during the pre-game show for the 7:30 p.m. PT basketball game and teased throughout the contest, culminating in the post-game “Inside the NBA” show. That’s when “Creed” stars Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone will be interviewed about their roles as the boxer who is the son of one-time Rocky rival Apollo Creed and his aging trainer, Stallone, reprising the Rocky role he played in six earlier films.
The post-game piece will be recorded earlier Thursday, because Jordan and Stallone will be attending the “Creed” premiere in Westwood during the Clippers-Warriors game. The stars can expect to get a round of questions from TNT analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. Up and coming star Jordan, previously of “Fruitvale Station,” “Fantastic Four” and TV’s “The Wire,” also may talk some round-ball with the commentators, since the actor is a dedicated Golden State fan.
“From a philosophical standpoint, our shows are about straddling the line of sports and pop culture and sports and entertainment,” said Craig Barry, executive vice president and chief content office for Turner Sports. “We love to create extensions that make sense across our various properties and platforms.”
“Creed” has been getting lots of positive buzz, leading up to its Nov. 25 opening, with Stallone being mentioned for possible awards honors.
The idea of cross-pollinating the film in the pro basketball universe first arose in early November, when Time Warner’s top brass were in New York for an earnings calls. Golden State fan and Warner Bros.’ boss Kevin Tsujihara mentioned to Turner Broadcasting CEO John Martin that both their operations might gain, and have some fun, melding the Rocky sequel with an upcoming NBA game. It so happened that the NBA champions were playing the Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on the same night of the premiere.
If all goes according to plan, the actors will brighten up the basketball chatter, and get a bunch of sports fans interested in going one more round with Rocky Balboa.