Cleveland Cavaliers Star LeBron James Appears In Self-Driving Car Ad, Possibly For Kia Cadenza

A brand new autonomous vehicle advertisement features NBA superstar LeBron James, but the car remains nameless in the ad. The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star is seen approaching and getting into the vehicle, but there is absolutely no branding whatsoever. The only brand that appears associated with the new commercial other than “King James” and the Intel technology company.

However, several websites seem to have uncovered which car LeBron is helping to pitch. As reported by Fortune’s Kirsten Korosec several days ago, the car “looks a lot like a Kia Cadenza.” While it’s mentioned that Intel wouldn’t confirm if it is, in fact, a Cadenza, a major clue should also come based on association. James has been featured in a series of 2016 Kia K900 commercials. Fellow All-Star Blake Griffin has been featured in Kia ads as well and even leaped over one to win an NBA Slam Dunk contest.

The new car advertisement (see video below) focuses quite a bit on LeBron James being “fearless” like other people in the world. As he leaves the arena after a basketball game, someone with him informs him that his ride is there just as the car pulls up to the curbside area. LeBron approaches it apprehensively and looks inside and points out there’s “no driver.” It’s an autonomous car with a striking resemblance to the Kia Cadenza.

2017 kia cadenza on display at ny auto show
A 2017 Kia Cadenza on display at the 2017 New York Auto Show. [Image by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images]

The latest Kia Cadenzas start just under $32,000 for the base models. The company touts the Cadenzas for their smart features such as having a “heads-up display” directly in the driver’s view. It displays aspects like the car’s speed and even an image of the next step in a set of driving directions.

Another feature is a “smart blind spot detection” system that will alert the driver to a vehicle driving in the driver’s blind spot. It will also apply some localized braking pressure if it’s necessary to guide the vehicle back into a lane. Autonomous Emergency Breaking or AEB is used so the car can apply brakes in anticipation of a crash and there’s even a Forward Collision Warning System with audio and visual cues to possibly help prevent serious crashes.

So far, the car packs in plenty of “smart features,” but it doesn’t provide the self-driving technology that may be years away. In the new Intel commercial, the “fearless” NBA star gets in the back seat anyways, and the car is off. As LeBron checks out content on his mobile phone, the car does a test drive, pulls back up to the curb area, with LeBron informing his guys “I’m keeping this.” If LeBron’s sold, others might be into it as well.

The concept of autonomous vehicles seems like it is quite a ways off before it is adopted by the masses. Intel, and possibly Kia, are trying to get ahead of the game mentally. The newest commercial isn’t necessarily to sell a brand new self-driving car, at least right away, but it is looking to get consumers feeling more comfortable about the future possibility of one. Using well-known stars to build that trust in an unknown technology certainly can’t hurt.

[Featured Image by Jason Miller/Getty Images]