Monday, June 22, 2009

Be Like Mike -- Writer's Poke #238

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0AGiq9j_Ak

In the original 1992 Gatorade commerical staring Michael Jordan, a chorus of children sing "If I could be like Mike" while a montage of basketball images cascade across the screen. In four specific scenes, we see Mike hold a Gatorade product in his hand, but only in one of them does he hold the cup to his lips. Does he actually take a sip? The scene cuts away before we can know for sure.

And what exactly does "Be Like Mike" mean, anyway? The message at the end of the commercial isn't very subtle: "Be Like Mike. Drink Gatorade." The commercial actually ends with this command (in black and white no less). Whoever designed the commercial didn't want you to simply "be like Mike"; they wanted to make sure that you got the message that you should be drinking the green liquid (and how exactly do you describe the taste?) at all times.

If we are to "Be Like Mike," does that mean that we should use what Mike endorses? Does it mean we should play NBA basketball for the Chicago Bulls? How exactly should we follow this man? Or does being like someone require following them at all?

In the end, drinking Gatorade, wearing Haines, or eating at McDonald's doesn't make us any more like Mike. Trust me: I've done all those things, and it hasn't helped my game one bit.

Who would you like to be like? Why?

"My heroes are and were my parents. I can't see having anyone else as my heroes." -- Michael Jordan

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