by Erin Fitzpatrick
Justin Bieber. Rebecca Black. McKeon and Palmieri? Popstars aren’t the only ones to rise to viral Youtube fame. Physical Education Teachers Mr. James McKeon and Mr. Daryl Palmieri appeared in a new Pepsi Max commercial this spring featuring Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving.
The video, which takes place in Bloomfield, NJ, involves Irving dressing up as an old man named “Uncle Drew,” who surprises the other players with his basketball skills. McKeon was one of the few players informed of the idea and helped set up the game which included many WHS alumni.
Said McKeon: “I was told the night before the concept of the commercial and that Kyrie was going to be there. I didn’t tell anyone what was going to happen so everyone else was very surprised.”
McKeon said many of the players were unaware of what was about to happen. Palmieri said, “They kept taking us in different directions, but they never gave it away.”
Said McKeon: “We did all get to meet Kyrie. We interacted a lot on the court and he was kind enough to hang out after to take pictures and sign autographs.... [He] seemed very down to earth.”
The teachers became involved in the commercial through McKeon’s sister, who works for the NFL and has previously worked with the producer of the video.
The video now has over seven million views on Youtube, and is increasing by the minute. Palmieri said: “We watched the video go from one million views to two million views and more... We didn’t expect it to be so big.”
Said McKeon: “I think I can speak for everyone involved that we didn’t expect anything like this. We just went to play and now it’s been on ESPN and all over the Internet.”