IRVINE, California — NBA All-Star Blake Griffin is "In the Zone" in a new series of four commercials for the completely redesigned 2016 Kia Optima midsize sedan.
The 2016 Optima is on its way to Kia dealerships with a starting price of $22,665, including an $825 destination charge.
In the first ad, "Next Level," the Los Angeles Clippers forward is reading a newspaper in the clouds as an Optima driver pulls up and asks if he's just chilling out. Griffin explains that he's actually in the middle of a game, but since he's in the zone, he looks relaxed.
In the other three upcoming ads in the series, Griffin, a Kia spokesman since 2011, is seen similarly relaxed — playing chess, making a sandwich and acting as a weather forecaster — while at the same time turning in impressive performances on the court.
The message: You can be in the zone, too, if you drive the next-generation Kia Optima.
Griffin first became associated with Kia when he famously won a slam-dunk contest by vaulting over the hood of an Optima, grabbing a ball fed to him through the car's sunroof and stuffing it through the hoop.
Since then, the All-Star has appeared in ads that showed him time-traveling to coach younger versions of himself, teaming up with comic actor Jack McBrayer to form a crime-fighting duo, and starring as an action-movie hero, all featuring the Kia Optima.
The all-new Optima, larger than the model it replaces, with additional interior and cargo room, is available in five trim levels and includes a long list of standard features, such as a rearview camera and six-way adjustable driver's seat.
Edmunds says: Kia is making a special effort to reach basketball fans, but the humor in Blake Griffin's commercials will appeal to a wide range of car shoppers.