Lil Dicky And Travis Bennett Draft Their Pick-Up Basketball Dream Team

Lil Dicky, Travis Bennett, and Magic Johnson pictured in a store drink cooler aisle in a new Coke Zero Sugar commercial

Quick show of hands.

Who remembers the 1997 superhero movie Steel, based on the DC Comics character of the same name? It featured Shaquille O’Neal as the weapons engineer John Henry Irons and his crime-fighting alter-ego, Steel.

History remembers Steel as a clumsy attempt for Warner Brothers to cash in on the NBA’s cultural cool factor in the ’90s. The Bulls had just won the fifth championship of the Jordan era. Shaq had just moved to Tinseltown to start playing for the Lakers.

Critics panned it for its hack plot and general cheesiness. It bombed big time at the box office that August, earning only $1.7 million against a $16 million budget. To be fair, it was a busy summer for pulpy crowdpleasers: Men In Black, Good Burger, Bean, Air Bud, and George Of The Jungle all came out in theaters around the same time, give or take six weeks.

Steel never stood a chance. It’s not your fault if you don’t remember this ’90s flop: No one really saw it.

Except Lil Dicky, real name Dave Burd.

“I saw Steel in theaters,” Dave says during a recent call to discuss his new Coke Zero Sugar campaign. “Talk about an entertainer. I’m still can’t get over Kazaam.”

“I love Shaq,” Dave explains. “Shaq, I feel like he broke a lot of ground there. I mean, obviously Kareem was in movies too, and for sure there are people in movies prior to Shaq, but I think Shaq might have been like the first leading man athlete, like in the middle of his prime to be like in a movie being the star.”

“He has a good sense of humor, that Shaq.”

Lil Dicky and Taco, now in a Coke commercial

Season Three of Dave premieres on April 5.

Before that, be prepared to see a lot of Lil Dicky this 2023 hoops season. Dave is featured in a new Coke ad spot with Magic Johnson alongside his Dave co-star Travis Bennett that will be running throughout March Madness.

In two separate conversations, I talked to both Dave and Travis about the spot, their work in Dave along with their life-long love of basketball.

“I grew up in America and I’ve always loved Coke, so it was a very natural collaboration,” Dave says. “This year I’m doing the best Coke ever campaign. I’m excited for the spots to premiere on the Duke-UNC game, which is March 4th. Love to be part of that rivalry. It was a fun shoot. It was so cool to work with Magic Johnson and be in a commercial with my co-star on my show, Travis Bennett.”

Dave is on a hot streak when it comes to collaborating with Lakers legends. Season two of Dave features an episode with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar where the NBA all-time leading scorer isn’t exactly a fan of the rapper’s cheeky earworm about him. 

I ask Dave who else from the Lakers he’d like to collab with. That’s when Shaq comes up in conversation.

“LeBron, you gotta throw LeBron in there,” Dave says. “I mean, rest in peace, Kobe, but there’s no one I admired more from like a fan, admiring an athlete more than Kobe. Kobe is like my favorite athlete of all time. So I always think about Kobe when I think about Lakers.”

Lil Dicky and Travis Bennett staring at a can of Coke Zero Sugar in a Coke Zero Sugar commercial

Courtside tales from Lakers games

I asked both Dave and Travis about their courtside experiences at Lakers games. Born and raised in Philly and now based in LA, Dave is famously a die-hard 76ers fan. Travis, growing up in LA, is a Lakers fan.

The dynamic between the two offscreen, at a basketball game, is just as raw and real IRL as it is in the show.

“My girlfriend got me tickets years and years and years ago,” Travis says. “I sat next to George Lopez and Arsenio Hall, which was insane. For me growing up, watching George Lopez and knowing Arsenio, from being a TV host legend and being in Coming to America.”

“There’s another situation that happened with me courtside,” he adds. “I was there when the Lakers and Rocket got into a fight, that was insane.”

The two hit up a Lakers game when the Sixers were in town, resulting in a tremendous trash talk session.

“Like full on screaming at each other,” Travis describes. “It was such a good game in the end. Every time the Lakers did anything, I would hit him on the leg and stand up and yell and vice versa. I wish somebody recorded that whole interaction between us, because for three and a half quarters we were yelling in each other’s faces.”

“We talk trash almost every day about basketball.” Travis adds. “Whenever we talk, I’m always talking about the Sixers and how much they suck and how the Lakers are gonna grow and we’re gonna band together and become this super team and win all these championships over the next two and a half years or three years. But we die by our teams.”

Lil Dicky on being a big Philly sports guy

Meanwhile, Dave fondly remembers a memorable courtside experience from when the Sixers played the Clippers a little later in the week.

“So when the Sixers come to town, they play the Lakers and they also play the Clippers like two nights later. The next night I had a courtside for the Clippers game and I was able to Jersey swap with Tyrese Maxey. I love Tyrese Maxey.”

“Truly, the best part of my success and my fame is the relationships I’m able to have with professional athletes,” Dave says with earnestness. “Like the Sixers and even like the GM Daryl Morey. I go out to dinner with him before the games and get insight into the team and the locker room.”

“It’s just my favorite benefit of my success,” Dave explains. I don’t think there’s anything that’s been such a constant in my life. There’s nothing I follow more than sports. And Philly sports obviously is my lifeline.”

Lil Dicky pictured in a diner booth with a can of Coke Zero Sugar for a Coke Zero Sugar commercial

“I think I’m very much equally obsessed with the Eagles as I am the Sixers,” Dave adds. “So, tough loss, if that’s your next question.”

As a fellow Eagles fan, I commiserate, while also throwing the Phillies in the equation.

Dave offers some zen-like clarity. It’s a sentiment every dyed-in-the-wool Philadelphia sports fan knows.

“To me, every season is like a journey and a ride,” Dave offers. “I couldn’t have asked for like a more entertaining team journey than I just had with the Eagles and the Phillies. Winning that Super Bowl in 2018 and then also winning the World Series in 2008, that took the pressure off. There was so much angst as a Philadelphia sports fan before that. ‘Cause we just hadn’t won that championship in like 50 years. Now that we’ve won, I feel like I’m able to enjoy the journeys more, even if they don’t end up being the champs.”

Dave and Travis’s pick-up basketball Dream Team

I asked both Travis and Dave to draft a dream team of pick-up basketball. The only caveat is that it must be entertainers and non-professional basketball players.

Travis is quick to draw:

“Me, Dave, Steelo Brim from Ridiculousness ’cause he is one of the biggest buckets, Robin Thicke. Robin Thicke is nasty. He’s a bucket. Trying to think about who does stuff that’s just nasty. Maybe Drake? I would choose Drake. He’s a good shooter.”

I ask him who’s the ankle-snapper is on the squad.

“Me,” Travis adds. Then he thinks for a second.

“And Dave. Me and Dave. Dave has played with me one time where I made somebody fall and made the three,” Travis continues. “It was like one of the best moments in this gym in Venice. And I made a guy fall, fall. I didn’t touch him or anything. Just a good move to a good follow through and a great bucket. Love it. But I’ve made people slip.”

In the meantime, Dave takes a few deliberate seconds to think through his pick-up team. He’s ready to give a calculated response.

“Okay. Let me think. Okay… If I like to really spend time and think about this, maybe I’d change my answers a little bit…” he ponders.

“Off the top of my head, no particular order, I’d go J Cole”, Dave starts. “J Cole, Dave East, because I went to the University of Richmond and he was actually on the University of Richmond basketball team. He was like a promising A10 freshman. I remember very vividly. I think that’s like a different level when you’re like a D one starter. So I’d go with those two.”

He continues.

“I’d go Gllie Da King from MILLION DOLLAZ OF GAME. Like, I really am blown away whenever he posts clips at his game. I can tell he’s good. I don’t know how his back doesn’t hurt? He seems to play like every day. I gotta put him on there. I would put me on there. Can I put myself on?”

I answer, “of course, you need a point guard.”

“Yeah, I think I’d run the point,” Dicky says. “Travis. I would put Travis on. ‘Cause I’ve played with Travis a lot and I like our game. Like we’re a good in the backcourt. If we’re talking about getting out there, I think it’s a good squad.”

Travis on working with Eddie Murphy in You People

Moving on to the career part of the conversations, I ask Travis about working with the legendary Eddie Murphy in You People, now out on Netflix.

“Every day was insane,” he gushes. “It felt surreal. Coming to work with people I grew up watching, who I tried to learn from.”

“To work with Jonah and Eddie and Nia and Dave and Lauren and Julia and Andrew and Brian and Sam and Jordan, I can go on forever about it,” Travis adds. “It was so exciting. So for me, every day I just was stoked to be there. I always felt like a little kid, but, I had to get work done, but I felt like so happy about it.”

“It’s Eddie Murphy, dude. When’s the last time you saw a picture of Eddie Murphy? When was last time you saw Eddie Murphy? He’s one of those mysterious creatures of Hollywood, you know what I mean? Where you’re like, Eddie, doesn’t he go outside? Has he been to a mall ever?

I add that he’s not hanging out in like a luxury box at a sporting event, like, ever.

“Eddie Murphy is not at Coachella my friend,” he responds.

Lil Dicky and Travis Bennett sitting in a diner booth in the new Coke Zero Sugar commercial

So what did he learn?

“I learned you have to put in the work…” Travis says. “The respect comes with the work. He’s just not some guy who did it on accident. You could tell how he does it and why he is who he is, because of how prepared he is for everything. So I think he just taught me to be more prepared for everything. And then also to be prepared to not be prepared. I’ve been good at improv, thankfully, but he definitely kept me on my toes.”

I ask Travis if there will ever be an Odd Future reunion someday, since that’s where his trajectory in the entertainment world began.

“My question is, what does that look like?”, he responds. “Is that us getting on a stage together and doing like four songs?”

“To get us all sitting together for a photo, I don’t know,” he continues. “I think that happens further down the line. We’re like, dude, we started that 10 years ago properly, 2012, 2013. I feel like in 10 years something like that happens. But I still think we’re all on our trajectory. Like, you do that after you’ve like kind of done your career.”

“I think we are all still having moments. Tyler just won Grammys. I act, Jasper’s doing You People. Jesus Christ, he’s doing Jackass, Lionel does The Bear and writes. My sister just won Grammys, like Frank is still Frank. He’s about to do Coachella. Earl is still always working. It’s just the story’s not done yet. I feel like you do that in 10 years.”

Lil Dicky on the success of Dave

I ask Dave about Dave, his eponymous FXX series.

Perhaps I’m projecting here, but the series strikes a profound chord in anyone grappling with their chosen path in life and everything that comes with it: Careers, ambitions, relationships, friendships, family, whimsy, anxiety, depression, dreams.

“It’s very generational,” I tell him, noting a personal favorite episode, ‘Ad Man’ season 2. It captures a very real energy for millennials circa 2012-2013, when a lot of us now old farts were just starting out in the postgrad workforce. We barely knew who we were, didn’t know jack, yet aspired for something more than the 9-to-5 slog, like a music career.

“I’m super proud of the show,” Dave says. “I think the best part of art in general is honesty. Like, I feel like when you can tell something is like true, it rings true to the viewer. The more specific you can get and still relate, you know? You probably didn’t work at an ad agency, but you could relate clearly because I was getting so specific with it. You know what I mean?”

“We do it in all types of ways,” Dave continues. “I love when there’s a hyper-specific story that I know no one on Earth has gone through, like that specific journey, but I have gone through something like that and I can portray it in a way that connects with everybody who has their own specific journeys. That’s a great feeling.”

“It’s been a very liberating thing, to make that show,” Dave says.

“I’ll never forget the first day, before we even shot anything for the show. We were doing a scene, day one of shooting season one, and it was like a scene with the young Dave, the kid, and like the parents. They caught him on the phone talking to a girl and they start berating him and questioning him about his romantic ongoings. Ad It was very similar to a moment I had in my real life. It was just like so surreal to see like an experience I had as a 13 year old kid be like, totally like professionally rebuilt by like 80 people, like on a set.”

“It was a super cool feeling,” Dave remembers. “I think in those moments I am able to sit back and be like, wow, I like this. I can’t believe like a little core memory or a thing that happened to me is now being artistically remade in this way that I am thinking. It’s really awesome.”

I get in one last question, about the show’s subtle references to the band Phish. Andrew Santino, who players Dave’s manager on the show, is a fan.

Dave notes it’s a first time ask in an interview.

“My manager in real life is a big Phish guy, so we kind of latched onto that part of his fandom and applied it to Andrew Santino’s character,” Dave explains. “So that’s, what you see is because of that not something I just randomly conjured. I’m not. I don’t have much experience in the Phish realm. But I know a lot of people like you, my manager in particular. So like I said, the more specific we can get with the character, the more people will relate. So I’m happy that you’re feeling a sense of relatability.

Before we wrap, I ask how the Richmond Spiders will do this year.

“They’re going all the way. You’ve heard it first. National Champions.”

Brandon Wenerd is BroBible's publisher, writing on this site since 2009. He writes about sports, music, men's fashion, outdoor gear, traveling, skiing, and epic adventures. Based in Los Angeles, he also enjoys interviewing athletes and entertainers. Proud Penn State alum, former New Yorker. Email: