Top 10 Michael Jordan Commercials of All Time
10 Best Michael Jordan Commercials of All Time
As far as his current job as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats goes, Michael Jordan hasn’t exactly done the best of jobs. Since taking over the Bobcats officially in March of 2010, wins have been hard to come by for Charlotte. In the three full seasons combined with MJ as owner, the team has captured only 62 wins.
However, even the NBA’s cellar-dwelling Bobcats can’t tarnish the legacy of their owner. He may not be great in the draft or at running a successful organization from the top, but there is near unanimous agreement that Jordan is the greatest player to ever touch the hardwood, playing for the Chicago Bulls and two years after his second retirement with the Washington Wizards. His impact on the game is still felt on the court in the NBA today, on the floor and in the world where people constantly want to talk about how current players stack up to MJ.
One of the things that makes Jordan’s impact so unique and enduring, though, is his presence off of the court. Gatorade, Nike, McDonald’s, Air Jordan and countless other companies have lined up to endorse Jordan over the years. Because of his talent, personality, prevailing popularity, and charisma in front of the camera, his numerous endorsements have resulted in some of the most memorable commercials of all time.
As Jordan looks to try and turn things around for the Bobcats heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season and with training camp looming in the very near future, let’s take a look at the ten best Jordan commercials of all time. It was hard to narrow it down to just 10 simply because there are so many quality ones. If you think I missed one or that one shouldn’t be in the top 10, be sure to let me know in the comments.
10. Nike Air Jordan IX “The Popcorn Tape” (1994)
Even with Jordan away playing baseball, Nike still found ways to make the Jordan brand alive and as strong as ever. In the spot, Steve Martin is investigating a suspicious group of Jordan lookalikes popping up in basketball games around the country, including a player for the Bulls named Johnny Killroy. This commercial always leaves me wishing that MJ could have worn Rec-Specs more than just for this spot.
9. Gatorade “23 vs. 39” (2002)
In Jordan’s comeback with the Wizards, many of his commercials gave nods back to the history that he made over the years in the game of basketball. This is one of the best in that category, featuring a 39-year-old Jordan matched up against the 23-year-old version of himself in a game of one-on-one, with a cameo of UNC era Jordan at the end. It’s an incredibly put-together spot appreciating the history of Jordan.
8. Nike Air Jordan X “Dream” (1995)
When Jordan returned from his hiatus to play baseball over two seasons, it took him a bit to get back into the swing of it. He obviously did as he completed the first step of a second three-peat the next season. In this spot, though, he makes light of his decision to leave the NBA for baseball, basically writing it all off as a bad dream. Considering that we were all robbed of two years of Jordan playing basketball, it’s probably best if we consider it just a nightmare as well.
7. Nike Air Jordan I “Banned” (1985)
Though the first Jordan commercial where MJ asks “Who said man was not meant to fly?” is a classic, this gem is the better of the two Air Jordan I commercials. It requires a bit of context, though.
When the original Jordan Is hit the stores and Jordan’s feet, the black and red weren’t in line with the rest of the Bulls’ shoes and colors. This resulted in the league fining MJ five grand per game, which Nike paid. That launched this brilliant marketing ploy, making the shoes not only endorsed by Jordan, but also giving them a bit of an edge.
6. Nike Air Jordan XII “Failure” (1997)
The stories of Jordan’s competitiveness on and off the floor are near countless, but his competition within is one of the most fascinating things in the history of sports. This commercial gives a look into that state of mind for Jordan, focusing on all of the ways that he’s failed and how that has made him better and allowed him to succeed. Leave it to the man himself to remember the failures that no one else does.
5. Nike Air Jordan VII “Hare Jordan” (1992)
Many people would have this commercial a lot higher than five, but I’m knocking it because of the cheesiness of it. Despite that, though, the Bugs Bunny, Jordan combo in the commercial is iconic and does still provide some juvenile laughs. More than that, we all know that this eventually led to one of the greatest cinematic achievements in history: “Space Jam.”
4. McDonald’s “The Showdown” Featuring Larry Bird (1993)
Larry Bird and Jordan were two of the most recognizable players in the NBA in the 80s and early 90s and McDonald’s brilliantly captured that with their H-O-R-S-E contest over a Big-Mac. Though their shots get obviously and purposefully surreal in the second half of the spot, I would pay good money to watch a game of H-O-R-S-E between Larry Legend and MJ, even if Bird insists on keeping the “no dunking” rule.
3. Nike Air Jordan XVIII “What Is Love?” (2003)
This might actually be my personal favorite of any Jordan commercial, but it’s far less iconic than the top-two. This four-minute spot aired at halftime of the 2003 All-Star Game, Jordan’s final season and, subsequently, his final All-Star appearance. It takes a look over his remarkable career, triumphs and, most importantly, highlights his love for the game of basketball. I could watch this over and over.
2. Nike Air Jordan III “Hang Time” (1988)
This marked the first appearance of Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon, one of many to follow. Because this is the one that started the Mars trend, it’s going to represent the whole series of commercials featuring Lee as the loud-mouthed kid. More than that, who doesn’t love seeing Jordan dunk on normal sized human beings hanging on his rim?
1. Gatorade “Be Like Mike” (1992)
Love it or hate it, any basketball fan knows the words to the “Be Like Mike” song and it will inevitably be stuck in your head after you watch the commercial (Bum buh bum bum bum). With this commercial, what it stands for, the god-awful but totally hate-watchable Bow Wow movie, and the song, this Gatorade commercial takes iconic to new heights, specifically to number one on this list.