Sometimes commercials are so brave and creative that you may miss what makes them different. In 2023, FanDuel released a new commercial with an NBA Legend: Charles Barkley, presenting how cool it is to bet on your favorite player in the smartphone app. He also has no doubt about where he would put his money: his choice goes to “Young Chuck,” sitting next to him. And that triggered people’s questions: No “Young Chuck” is playing today in the NBA, so who is he? Let’s find out the surprising answer in this article.
You can watch the 2023 FanDuel commercial with Charles Barkley below.
The 2023 FanDuel commercial with Charles Barkley: who’s Young Chuck?
The FanDuel commercial released in April 2023 stars an NBA legend, Charles Barkley. Next to him is sitting an athlete named “Young Chuck”: he’s the younger version of himself, recreated with the deepfake technology. Charles Barkley was nicknamed “Chuck” when he was younger: “Young Chuck” represents himself when he played for the Phoenix Suns between 1992 and 1998. You will recognize him better in this article on NBA.com.
Deepfake technology is an image manipulation technique that uses artificial intelligence to replace the facial traits of a person with someone else. It’s considered a controversial technique, especially given the realistic quality it offers lately. Nowadays, deepfake videos look so authentic that they can be misused in many ways, for example creating snippets of famous personalities sharing messages on the Internet that can drive public opinion.
In the case of the FanDuel commercial, of course, there is no harm: Charley Barkley is talking with his younger self, re-created next to him by replacing the facial traits of a real actor with the ones taken from the old pictures of him while playing for the Phoenix Suns.
The last problem to solve was giving Young Chuck a voice that sounded different from today’s Charles Barkley: the actor who voiced Young Chuck in the FanDuel commercial is Danny Rouhier, the host of The Grant & Danny Show on 106.7 The Fan, a sports radio station in Washington D.C. And the reason why FanDuel chose Danny to voice Young Chuck is funny: in 2021, he went viral for this parody of Charles Barkley in a game analysis. His video became so popular that Rouhier was even invited to interview Charles Barkley in person in 2021: you can find that interview here on Youtube.
So now you know: Young Chuck is precisely Charles Barkley, about twenty years ago.
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