Sponsorship plays an ever-increasing role in the lives and careers of professional athletes. On top of an opportunity for additional income outside of playing the games they’re so good at, advertising has given athletes the chance to share their personalities with the world.
Here are six of the best sports commercials of all time.
6. 2010 World Cup
The ability to perform under pressure is a large part of what separates professional athletes from the people who watch them play. Within the world of sports, it is the truly great players that thrive in those clutch moments. This Nike commercial, which aired during the 2010 World Cup, captures exactly that.
5. Tiger’s Tricks
When this ad was made in 1999, Tiger got together with Nike with a completely different commercial in mind. It wasn’t until he started playing around and strutting his stuff for the film crew in between takes that the makers of this great commercial realized the marketing potential in Tiger’s tricks.
4. Be Like Mike
In 1992, the phrase “Be Like Mike” solidified itself in the minds of people everywhere when this iconic commercial aired. And who wouldn’t want to be like Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time?
Truth is, you can drink all the Gatorade you want—you won’t ever be as good as MJ.
3. Jordan vs. Jordan
Wouldn’t this be a match-up for the ages? Some would even say that the only way to compare any other player to the likes of Jordan would be to clone him for a test of skill (neverending tie-break anyone?). This TV spot accomplishes the task but putting the fast, young Jordan up against a more experienced, albeit older version of himself. This commercial captured the imaginations of audiences, making them think “what if?” when it aired in 2003.
2. What Doesn’t Bo Know? (1989)
Not only did Bo Jackson play in both the MLB and NFL, but he is the only athlete ever to earn All-Star honors in two major American sports. This 1989 commercial is a testament to the athlete’s greatness in all things—except hockey, apparently.
1. H-O-R-S-E (1993)
This 1993 McDonald’s commercial is a favorite pick by many for best of all time. It pits Jordan and Bird—two of the greatest NBAers ever—head-to-head in a classic game of HORSE. The scenario is something that we can all relate to, even if our skill level may not meet the results of this TV “special effect” production.
Note: You likely noticed the bias towards Jordan in this piece but TV land put a lot of big bucks behind creative productions for His Airness during his reign. Who will dominate this list in years to come?