INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Kyrie Irving's original "Uncle Drew" commercial spot for Pepsi, titled "Chapter 1," is the most viewed basketball-related video in YouTube history, having been played nearly 47 million times.
The campaign, with launched in 2012, has been a smashing success ever since, growing to four installments with cameos from the likes of Kevin Love, Ray Allen, Baron Davis and comedian J.B. Smoove. In years past, Irving would use the NBA offseason to write, direct and film the spots. However, with last season bleeding into late June for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Irving following up his NBA Finals heroics with a gold-medal performance in the Rio Olympics, he did not have time to produce a new one during this offseason.
Whenever the next chapter in the series is worked on -- Irving said the summer of 2017 is unlikely, but wouldn't rule out summer 2018 -- the Cavs point guard hinted that something special is in store for what he says will be the closing episode for the conceit.
"There is something big that we’re planning, which I’m really excited about," Irving said at shootaround Thursday. "Hopefully the details can be released in the forthcoming future, but I’m excited about it. There will be a last chapter that will happen, but I don’t think it will be on YouTube."
If not YouTube, a reporter asked, where? The movies?
"If you got that from that, yeah," Irving said, keeping some mystery around it. "For sure. For sure."
In theory, Irving wouldn't have to go far to shop the script. LeBron James owns a production company, SpringHill Entertainment, which partnered with Warner Bros. Entertainment in 2015. Perhaps Uncle Drew's sendoff could even be a cameo in the much-rumored "Space Jam 2" project.
Whatever form it takes for the finale, Irving said Uncle Drew will never really go away. Irving's big 3-pointer in Game 7 against the Golden State Warriors was already immortalized in Uncle Drew fashion, for instance.
"Well, Uncle Drew still lives inside of me," Irving said. "So the chapters are continuing. I’m almost known as Uncle Drew now, so it’s cool."
And with or without Uncle Drew, Irving figures to remain a commercial star, as he was featured in the NBA's new spot "29," released Thursday, promoting the 2016-17 season.