CLEVELAND (AP) - LeBron James took his game to a new court. Instead of dunking for screaming fans, he performed for a judge and jury.
To launch an endorsement partnership with the sports drink VitaminWater, Cleveland's superstar filmed a TV commercial on Tuesday in which he stars as a nattily attired defensive attorney trying to win a case.
Trading in his Cavaliers jersey, shorts and signature sneakers for reading glasses, an expensive Ralph Lauren suit and black Gucci leather shoes, James again displayed his versatility and style while filming the 30-second spot which will debut during the NBA playoffs.
With the same ease he shows on the hardwood floor, James was typically cool in front of the camera. He sipped "Energy" - one of VitaminWater's 15 flavors - for each take before smoothly hitting his marks during the taping.
After arriving on the set and being touched up by his personal stylist, James greeted the commercial's crew and extras, who had been rehearsing most of the day while waiting for the NBA's leading scorer.
"What's up, judge?" James said, flashing a thumbs-up to the black robed extra.
"What's up, cop?" he said to the bailiff.
About a half hour before James arrived, a member of the production crew picked up a bullhorn to remind those on the set not to ask for the 23-year-old's autograph.
The commercial starring James is the latest in VitaminWater's "try-it" campaign. Last year, the Coca-Cola owned company featured Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher playing badminton in an ad.
As he chilled out in his trailer before the taping, James said if he had taken a different career path he might have made a convincing counselor.
"I can be real intimidating when I put my game face on," he said. "And, I never lose."
Early in his pro career, James signed an endorsement deal with Coca-Cola, which purchased Glaceau, maker of VitaminWater, last year for $4.1 billion.
James has done successful TV ad campaigns for Nike, Sprite and others in a vast endorsement portfolio approaching $250 million. In the past year he has also hosted "Saturday Night Live" and "The ESPYs." A fan of VitaminWater's other ads, he liked the idea of doing something out of the ordinary.
"You want people to see a different side of you. It would be easy for me to do a commercial on the basketball court, shooting a ball through a hoop. People see me do that everyday and they see the highlights all the time," James said.
"But in my ads you see me doing other things. A company like VitaminWater has always done things differently, so it was easy. I didn't even have to suggest it. They already had it going, so it was easy to fit in."