Nostalgic connection to greatness transcends generational divides. Michael Jordan‘s legacy is a unique greatness that resonates deep in the hearts of those who saw him play and even those who are too young to have watched live. At NBA All-star weekend, Gatorade gave fans of the game and His Airness a chance to relive some of Jordan’s most iconic moments.
Local area youth were brought into a studio where they were given the opportunity to “Shoot like Mike”, “Dunk like Mike” and “Strike iconic poses like Mike”. This unique event was part of Gatorade’s G50 campaign and also coincides with the relaunching of their “Be like Mike” ad, which debuted 23 years ago. The timing simply couldn’t be better.
“Shooting like Mike” had participants attempting to reenact his series-clinching jump shot over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Craig Ehlo in 1989. The exhibit even had anguished Ehlo stand-ins to add some realism for the moment referred to simply as “The Shot.”
“Dunk like Mike” gave fans the opportunity to soar through the air (with the help of a trampoline) and engage in some of Jordan’s most memorable throw-downs. Fans struck iconic poses like the one of Jordan jumping in the air and pumping his first after the aforementioned Ehlo shot (sorry Craig they really picked on you).
All of the action was captured on camera so that participants could be immortalized in their own “Be Like Mike” moment forever.
Gatorade didn’t stop there. Attendees were also quenched like Mike with the re-release of Jordan’s favorite flavor of all time: Citrus Cooler. The once extremely popular flavor has been hard to find in recent years but will be making a comeback complete with a special G50 Be Like Mike label to be released in March.
As if that wasn’t enough, Gatorade also had Horace Grant (Jordan’s former Bulls’ teammate) and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins (one of Jordan’s former rivals) in attendance at the event. The two legends each shared stories of Jordan, offering unique perspectives on M.J. in his prime.
“M.J. embodies leadership, passion and work ethic on and off the court,” Grant said. “I’ve never seen someone work so hard at his craft.”
Grant went on to call Jordan, not only the greatest player in terms of talent, but also the best teammate he ever played with. Horace dished on his favorite Jordan story, one from all the way back to around his fourth year in the league.
“We were playing the Pistons and James Edwards hit me with a fierce elbow—that was legal back in the day” Grant reminisced. “He hit me and I went down. M.J. came over and grabbed me by shoulders and said ‘Don’t let them see you hurt.’ From that point on I was like OK, I know what this man is all about.”
Wilkins said he was excited about participating in the event and admitted he has good and bad memories of Jordan. The bad memories stem from ‘Nique losing to MJ’s Bulls when they faced off regularly back in the 1980s. “I competed against the greatest two-guard to ever play the game,” Wilkins said with some pride.
“Mike and I wanted to compete against each other. That’s how you test where you place is as a superstar.”
An event like this speaks to the lasting legacy of number 23 in so many ways. People who never saw him play, a former teammate and a former adversary all gathered under one roof to pay homage to what he accomplished on court, and the marketing empire that blossomed from those hardcourt exploits. They say what was old will be new again, and Michael Jordan and Gatorade prove there will always be a market for MJ, no matter how much time has elapsed since his playing days.