Since number 1 is a foregone conclusion, and there is only one correct answer, I’ll make it a top 11
11. Michael Jordan- Maybe it’s my fault
He is the best ever, and this is classic MJ. He’s so competitive that he had to create a strawman who didn’t think he worked out, and then make a full 60 second commercial to go on a rant and destroy him.
10. Dan vs Dave
The Barcelona Olympics were a treasure trove of great ads, and this campaign was the biggest of the all. It’s most famous now for the utter failure of both Dan and Dave.
9. “Cut that Meat” et al…the Manning Files
We can argue where Manning falls on the list of greatest QB’s, but he’s a HOF pitch man. Just tremendous stuff
8. Lil’ Penny
People sleep on Penny as a player…dude could ball, but he just fell off a cliff after a handful of peak years. But thankfully, Lil’ Penny lives on.
This grandmother was the grandfather of the entire genre of NBA Alter-ego commercials, and it built up LJ into a household name.
6. Sir Charles is not a role model
This commercial still gets shout outs on the reg whenever the subject of athletes behaving badly comes up…which is frequently. This is so on-brand for Charles. Controversial, brash, with a tinge of anger, but you can’t help but love him.
5. Michael vs Larry
Classic Dream Team era commercial. Is there any way this shoot didn’t deteriorate into these two playing horse for their paycheck?
4. Chicks Dig the Long Ball
There aren’t a lot of great baseball commercials. But this is a personal favorite of mine. Perfect for these two affable, dorky pitchers.
3. Terry Tate Office Linebacker
Bit of a stretch here for this list, I know. But the guy who plays Terry Tate played college football. And it was a Superbowl commercial. So……and c’mon, you’re getting 11 of them. I could argue it’s not a particularly effective ad, though, seeing as I just watched it and still don’t remember what it’s for. Sneakers, maybe?
2. Bo Knows
If you were a sports fan growing up in the 80’s, Bo was a HUGE deal for you. You absolutely had to have the black and white poster of Bo wearing shoulder pads with the bat across his shoulders, you probably did book reports on “Bo Knows Bo” for 6 consecutive semesters (maybe that was just me), and you made at least a hundred Bo knows ______ references a week.
1. Be Like Mike
This is the King. The biggest athlete-marketing sensation of all time, at his peak in both genres. I watch this commercial all the time. When you’re singing this song for the rest of the day, you can thank me.
BTW- does anything better encapsulate who MJ was as a player than that Cavs highlight and his reaction immediately following? I could watch just that play on a loop for 10 mins. Actually, I might create that….