When it comes to athlete catchphrases few compare to Michael Jordan’s “Be like Mike.”
Upon reading that you heard the ’90’s voice say it, huh? It’s instinctual – we all know it without really even trying. What’s crazy is that most people don’t know where the slogan came from… well, it originated from Michael’s Gatorade commercials.
Anyone growing up in the ’90s is probably rolling their eyes right now and collectively saying, “duh, bro.” Young guns are at least partially aware of MJ’s association with America’s favorite sugar water (Gatorade); two years ago Jordan Brand dropped two Air Jordan 6s and four Air Jordan 1s dripped in Gatorade branding and colors. So, if you found yourself wondering, “why did Jordan do a Gatorade collab” then now you know.
For the culture, let’s take a look back at some of the best Gatorade commercials featuring His Airness…
“Be Like Mike”
Shoe: Air Jordan 6 ‘Carmine’
Top-5 most iconic commercial of all time, don’t @ us – you’ll sound silly. Perfect, flawless, impeccable… any positive adjective describing the commercial will do. Armed with the Air Jordan 6 “Carmine” on-foot, Michael was at his absolute best in this commercial spot. We all just want to Be Like Mike, right?
“Life is a Sport”
Shoe: Nike Diamond Turf 2
Balls, it takes balls to make this commercial. Try making this sucker in 2019 – impossible. MJ running through the desert to find answers, dope. MJ in Diamond Turf 2s, super dope. MJ looking like someone poured petroleum jelly all over him, priceless.
No words, no shoes, nothing. Just MJ sweating orange, but don’t worry kids, that’s completely normal.
“23 vs 39”
Shoe: Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’, Air Jordan 17 ‘Copper’
“Be Like Mike” might’ve been the definitive Jordan x Gatorade commercial, but the “23 vs 39” spot is pretty damn good too. It centers around the question everyone was asking when MJ returned to basketball, “Is he going to be the MJ of old?”
Short answer, no. Long answer, that was completely okay. Mike didn’t need 23-year old legs, he had OG strength aka wit and skill. The trash talk was A1, the footwork was on-point. All dope our book.
“Michael vs Mia”
Shoe: Air Jordan 14 ‘Black Toe’
Modern classic alert! We’re not even going to try and say Gatorade was the first to try and put female athletes on the map, but they were for sure trying early in this commercial, we get to see MJ in ways we’ve never seen before. He’s playing tennis, soccer, fencing against the legendary Mia Hamm and she holds her own step-for-step. Legitness. It’s kinda weird that Jordan chose to rock the ‘Black Toe’ 14s, they were almost 10 years old at that point; it would’ve made more sense to have him in the Jordan XX1 or something.
“Win From Within”
Shoe: Air Jordan 12 ‘Flu Game’
Never underestimate perseverance and mental fortitude. Our last commercial centered around MJ’s ‘Flu Game’ a was narrated by Phil Jackson. Gatorade is supposed to refuel athletes and keep them going, right? Choosing these clips to sell their product was a nice play and made total sense. If Gatorade could help MJ get through that Finals game while grossly sick, then it could help jabronis like you and me.