10 Throwback Endorsements Every Sports Fan Will Love
A great endorsement sticks with you, especially if it involves a recognizable or favorite athlete. Here are ten throwback endorsements sports fans are sure to reminisce about.
1. Michael Jordan
Brand: Nike & Jordan Brand
Why we love it: Jordan is possibly the most iconic athlete of all time. His dunk was the inspiration for the Jordan Brand logo which has grown into the most successful basketball brand in the United States; he helped create the blueprint for sports endorsements.
Funny thing is, Jordan wanted to sign with adidas out of college instead of Nike. However, at the time, adidas was not interested in signing professional basketball players.
Where are they now?: Michael Jordan is the majority owner and executive chairman of the Charlotte Bobcats and still oversees Jordan Brand, a division of Nike. Nike and Jordan Brand are considered to be the elite brands when it comes to basketball footwear and apparel. In 2012, Jordan Brand controlled 58 percent of the U.S. basketball shoe market, while Nike controlled another 34 percent of the market.Image courtesy of Deadspin
2. Nolan Ryan
Why we love it: This endorsement is a great play on words. It is simple and the product is a great fit for the athlete.
Where are they now?: Ryan just stepped down and retired as CEO of the Texas Rangers and Advil is currently the number one selling OTC pain reliever.Image courtesy of Snackbomb
3. Mary Lou Retton
Why we love it: Trailing with two events to go, Retton scored perfect 10s in dramatic fashion on the floor exercise and vault. Retton won the all-around gold medal by 0.05 points becoming the first American gymnast to win an all-around gold medal. Additionally, she was the first female athlete to be pictured on the front a Wheaties box. “The Breakfast of Champions” chose a true champion when they selected Mary Lou to grace the cover of their famous cereal box.
Where are they now?: Wheaties is still fueling champions throughout sports. After the Olympics, Retton attended The University of Texas at Austin where she met her future husband. She spends her time raising her family and as an analyst for major gymnastics events.
Image courtesy of ShoppingBlog.com
4. Andre Agassi
Why we love it: Agassi was known as a rebel throughout his career and Canon captured that image with this endorsement for the EOS Rebel X.
Where are they now?: Agassi can be found playing in charity tournaments and working with his own charity, the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. Canon is still one of the leading providers of digital imaging and optical products. In 2013, they were named to Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies.
Image courtesy of L Squared Style
5. Allen Iverson
Why we love it: Iverson was known to break ankles with his “crossover” and Reebok capitalized by making a shoe that could handle his movements and acceleration. Iverson brought hip-hop style to the NBA and Reebok’s image was a perfect fit.
Where are they now?: While still playing, Iverson signed a lifetime endorsement agreement with Reebok who is still one of the largest athletic brands. “We don’t consider our relationship to end when his career does,” said Paul Fireman, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Reebok. “We believe we can continue to bring forth products and engage consumers on Allen’s behalf and ours for years after his career is over.” To this day, Iverson’s signature Reebok shoes can still be purchased at leading retailers.
6. Larry Johnson & Grandmama
Why we love it: How many companies or brands would let their star endorser wear a dress? Let alone, how many athletes would agree to wearing a dress? Converse and Larry Johnson had the guts to do something different, and, in doing so, created one of the most memorable sports endorsers ever. Grandmama even made an appearance on the television show Family Matters.
The story behind Grandmama is just as interesting as the character herself and had Converse stuck with their original endorsement idea they may have created an even more classic endorsement.
Where are they now?: Johnson is the Basketball and Business Operations Representative with the New York Knicks. Converse re-focused their mission and is now primarily a streetwear and fashion label relying on sales of their famous Chuck Taylors and skateboarding line.
Image courtesy of Just Cos Blog
7. Mark McGwire
Brand: California Milk Processor Brand (CMPB)
Why we love it: Massive homeruns made McGwire one of the most recognizable baseball players ever and the CMPB capitalized on America’s home-run fever at the right time with this clever play on words.
Where are they now?: The California Milk Processor Board is still successfully using some of the top sports stars for their “Got Milk?” campaign. In 2010, McGwire became the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. He stayed with the Cardinals until 2013, when he accepted an offer to fill the same position for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Image courtesy of Sports Grind Entertainment
8. Tony Hawk
Why we love it: Hawk invented one of his signature skating tricks the ‘Airwalk’, which looks like you are “walking on air”, while Airwalk was sponsoring him.
Where are they now?: Tony Hawk put skating on the map. He is widely considered the most influential skateboarder ever. He paved the way for countless current skaters to have endorsement contracts. Hawk now spends his time making sure his own clothing line, Tony Hawk Clothing, embodies the casual skater style. Although Airwalk’s popularity has taken a dip since Hawk left to start his own brand, and as more skating brands have entered the market, they can still be found shredding up skate parks today.
Image courtesy of Skately
9. Bill Belichick
Why we love it: In the late 80’s and early 90’s Starter jackets were the jacket to have as a youngster. Starter saw something early in Belichick and capitalized on his “Everything you’ve got” coaching attitude, which to this day has not changed. We can only wonder if Starter would still be the preferred athletic apparel brand if they had remained together with Belichick during his ascend to greatness.
Where are they now?: In 2009 Starter signed Tony Romo to be their featured brand endorser. The re-releasing of their famous satin jackets is in full-swings with the NFL, but keep your eye out for the NBA line that is being released this month. Belichick went on to win three Super Bowls as head coach of the New England Patriots along with three AP NFL Coach of the Year awards.
Image courtesy of BostInno
10. Mike Piazza
Brand: Pert Plus
Why we love it: Just take a look at Piazza’s quintessential 90’s hair and you will quickly understand why a shampoo endorsement makes perfect sense.
Where are they now?: Pert Plus still operates under Procter & Gamble. Recently Piazza debuted with the Miami City Ballet in support of his daughter’s participation in ballet school. He also co-hosts Friday Night Rocks on WAXQ in New York and released a book titled “Long Shot” this year.
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