Over the last three days, no Cavs-related story has been hotter than Cleveland’s so-called “response” to the LeBron James-adled Nike commercial titled “Rise.”
From outlets like ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption to CBS’s hoops blog penned by Matt Moore, the response to the, um, “response” has been overwhelmingly positive. PTI called the Wantz piece “brilliant,” and Moore stated that if “zings were weapons, it would be an atomic bomb.” The multimedia mavens over at The Basketball Jones said though it took two weeks for Cleveland to reply, it was “well worth the wait.”
The only catch is that it didn’t take two weeks.
It only took a matter of days for Cleveland to respond, at least in the eyes of local comedian Chad Zumock whose response to James hit the Internet’s shelves on October 29th – almost one full week before the now viral video created by Wantz.
In Zumock’s video, the afternoon drivetime co-host of WMMS’ The Alan Cox Show has some one-on-one time with the two-time MVP. Wantz’s rendition captured the thoughts of several different would-be representatives of Cleveland (hey, the bar is called The Clevelander, right?), where Zumock’s dialogue relied on verbal jabs combined with excellent editing that placed the antagonist along James’ side through the duration of the Nike spot.
In the video titled “Just Apologize,” Zumock is the sole audience member of James’ MVP speech, side-by-side with James amongst the halls of St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, on the street corner with Don Johnson and even getting the pixilated treatment after James asks if he should “just disappear.” While the message is the same, the medium is a bit different as Zumock opts for humor and blunt replies (he is a comedian). Wantz, via the use of various locals, opts more for cinematic emotion and inner-relation to fellow Clevelanders who continue to long for answers themselves.
But for one reason or another, Zumock’s response has received a fraction of the views of Wantz’s – as of Saturday afternoon, Zumock’s creation (though having had six more days of air time) had been viewed just under 9,000 times on the New York based video hosting service Vimeo with the help of fellow comedian Jeff Etters. Wantz, opting for Silicon Valley’s YouTube and the help of thousands of email forwards, has had his video viewed over 1.1 million times in less than two full days.
Zumock admits that the commercial is intrinsically easy to parody, as had been done last week by Trey Stone and Matt Parker of South Park. And while all parties put a different spin on it, he also says that the whole thing may very well just be a weird coincidence. But by having the medium of local radio for four hours a day, Zumock believes wholeheartedly that Wantz saw the first video before producing his rendition.
Wantz tells WFNY that he did the video because he felt that Cleveland’s side of the situation was not being heard or perhaps just being misrepresented.
“LeBron [James] was more than a basketball player to this city,” said Wantz via email.
So what should Wantz do? Should he get have his video removed? Should he, like Zumock, make us laugh?
“Like what I asked of LeBron in my video, I think he should apologize,” said Zumock. “He should admit that he saw my video a week before he made his. I would love to have him come on the [Alan Cox] show and talk about it.”
When asked what he thought of the “Quitness” version of the response, Zumock said that it was “alright.”
Unfortunately, when asked about the allegations that he may have borrowed a bit of his idea from Zumock, Wantz opted to not comment.
Disclosure: Author has appeared as a guest on The Alan Cox Show