The Blazers Star in Some Weird-Ass Commercials

Reason no. 6 to love Portland right now.

Shabazz is the man. (YouTube)

Shabazz Napier jukes left. The Portland Trail Blazers guard glides to the basket, pulling up for a graceful jumper. He pours steaming hot coffee onto the face of the fool who tried to guard him.

Bizarre local TV ads starring a hometown basketball hero aren't a new phenomenon, or unique to Portland. But Rip City may be home to the most self-aware commercials ever—postmodern meta-commentaries on advertising, with jingles that sound like They Might Be Giants noodling after three dabs.

C.J. McCollum just joined the party, with a Papa Murphy's ad that features him giving a desultory voice-over about home-baked pizza that would fit in a Charlie Kaufman movie.

But the most notorious of these spots? That prize still goes to the Napier ad for Stumptown Coffee, which has been viewed 50,000 times on social media in less than three months. The ad director and jingle composer is Tim Wenzel, who worked six years as a Stumptown barista before turning "in-house creative" for the java company in 2016. He also stars in the ad as the palooka getting his ankles broken on the court.

Wenzel is already a familiar figure in Portland music circles: He's the guitarist for White Glove, a keyboard-heavy, change-resenting garage-rock trio. (The band is best known for its anti-gentrification anthems: "Division Street," a tongue-in-cheek screed against condos, yuppies and brunch, and "Fred and Carrie," a not particularly tongue-in-cheek broadside against yuppies, Carrie Brownstein, and Fred Armisen.)

"Sellout or not, whatever," Wenzel says. "Stumptown lets me do what I want to do. I've been told that some of the ridiculous songs I write will stick in people's heads. It actually works now. Put to it to some use."

2. TriMet Could Soon Stop Charging Life-Ruining Fines

3. You Can Now Smoke Weed While Listening to Live Classical Music

4. Oregon's Unemployment Rate is Incredibly Low

5. Your Favorite Sports Team is Only a Short Walk Away

6. The Blazers Star in Some Weird-Ass Commercials

7. We Now Have a Mountain Bike Park in the City

8. 24 hours after Chamber Music Northwest Burned Down, the Last Concert in the Series Went on as Planned

9. Portland is the Playground of Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma

10. You Can Soon Stream Local Music at the Library

11. Oregon Just Became the First State to Defelonize Hard Drugs

12. East Portland is Getting an Aerial Tree Walk

13. We're the World Capital of Canned Wine

14. Portland is a Hotbed of Small Bookstores

15. Unlike any Other City, We Have Multiple Niche Comedy Festivals

16. Our Developers Are Privatizing Socialism

17. The Nation's Best Airport Keeps Getting Even Better

18. We're Home to the World's First Sneaker Design School

19. Portland Scored the World's First Dog Tap Room

20Weed Prices are Falling From Cheap to Damn Near Free, and We Haven't Yet Found the Bottom

21. Our Local Mini-Mart Chain Makes Snickers Give You Free Candy Bars

22. The View From the MAX Orange Line is One of the Most Striking and Beautiful Paintings in the City 

23. We Are Still No. 1 in Semifactual Superlatives

24. We Make Biking So Accessible

25. You Can Crowdfund Anything Here

26. We Find So Many Ways to be Anti-Trump

27. Our Malls Are Becoming Cultural Embassies

28. Our Humane Society Rescues Pets From All Over the Country 

29. Winter This Year is a Pussycat

30. No One Mourns Closures Like We Do

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.