Steph Chung on Shooting Commercial with LeBron James: “It was cool to see his personality come out”
In July of this year, former CrossFit Games athlete Steph Chung headed to a warehouse in Akron, OH to shoot a commercial with NBA superstar LeBron James. Chung, who came 35th at the 2018 CrossFit Games, said the experience was just as surreal as one might think, however James – who is seen as a larger than life figure – turned out to be super down to earth.
“I’ve never been part of a commercial shoot of that size before,” said Chung, who was shooting a spot for LADDER supplements (who she signed with in May) with the NBA megastar, “and I learned a lot by observing and interacting with LeBron on set.”
Chung had recently been signed by the brand, and got the call to head to the warehouse for the day. James, who is about to head into another season with the Los Angeles Lakers, is one of the most recognizable and famous athletes in the world, worth an estimated $1 billion according to Forbes. The 37-year-old stands 6-foot-9 and has multiple million dollar endorsement deals, however Chung said he was totally relaxed and approachable during their shoot together.
“He was very nice and introduced himself right away, and he was really funny when we were improvising some of the scenes,” she added. “I was obviously very flattered at the opportunity (to shoot the video with him) and it was just a really unique and cool opportunity that came up.”
CrossFit has started to flirt with the outskirts of the mainstream sporting realm and news media landscape. Mat Fraser, who was on the biggest podcast in the world, the Joe Rogan Experience, was also recently interviewed for a piece in USA Today. Big name brands are also starting to court CrossFit athletes including Monster and TYR, along with CrossFit early adopters Nike and Reebok.
The video – which ends with Chung and James high-fiving after a workout and some playful banter – showcases the growing appeal of working out as part of a fitness lifestyle. LADDER, which was founded by James, also has a number of other high profile athletes signed to it including Los Angeles Dodgers player Trea Turner and Cameroonian pro wrestler Khan.
“He’s very cool, he’s a really nice person,” said Chung about the whole experience, “and I felt like I learned a lot about acting from him and I thought it was really cool to see him have a lot of personality on set. He’s obviously a really great athlete but it’s cool to see people who are great athletes also have cool personalities. And the director and the producer were asking us to kind of play off each other and for a lack of a better word, improvise in some scenes and it was cool to see his personality come out.”
Chung added she thinks the video shows that CrossFit athletes can hang with the best of the best of them during a workout.
“I hope that this partnership shows that professional CrossFit athletes are starting to gain recognition and consideration for partnerships in the same way as athletes in mainstream professional sports, such as basketball and football.”
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