Are You Tony Hawk?
Tony Hawk has an interesting level of fame. His name is synonymous with skateboarding. Like Tiger Woods is with golf or Serena Williams in tennis, with those two athletes you would think you would recognize them in public and lose your mind.
Tony Hawk is not like those two athletes. A few examples, via Hawk’s Twitter, of him being talked about but not recognized: Guy “has anyone told you you look like Tony Hawk?”
Hawk, “you have no idea.”
Guy, “that’s cool, he’s cool.” Hawk says thanks as the guy stands confused.
A guy at a grocery store says “you ever get mistaken for Tony Hawk..or are you Tony Hawk?” To which Tony Hawk replies “both!”
My favorite story: Tony Hawk pulls up to the drive through, the lady behind the window says “you’re Tony Hawk…Can I tell everybody?” Hawk says ‘sure’.
When it was announced that Hawk was at the window, a voice from the kitchen hollered “Who?”
Those were just a few of my favorites. A quick google search of “people meeting Tony Hawk” will bring about 20 more stories of more run-ins like the ones previously mentioned.
The Video Game
Tony Hawk is a rare athlete with the fact that a video game is named after him. John Madden and Tiger Woods are the only other sports figures with notable video games named after them. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was a highly regarded game when it was released in the fall of 1999.
What made the gameplay so fun was what you were able to do. You were able to do stuff the actual skateboarders were not able to do. Meaning you could grind the rail longer, do 3 flips rather than 1, or 5 spins rather than 2. Being able to see and do such feats that haven’t been done in person is a weird feeling of pride the player gets.
It also had a great story mode. You could work your way up the ranks of the skateboarding world. Completing challenges and winning events. I don’t know what it is but something about story modes make players intrigued to buy the game.
Tony Hawk ended up releasing 5 video games under the same name with the newest one being released in 2015. With the addition of another successful video game called Tony Hawk’s Underground. Needless to say, he was a pioneer for skateboarding video games.
Tony Hawk got his first skateboard when he was 9. And by 14 he turned pro, “by 16 he was considered the best competitive skateboarder on earth” per tonyhawk.com. He then went on to be a world champion for 12 consecutive years.
In 1999, the same year the video game was released, he performed a 900 (2.5 in-air rotations) at the X Games. A 900 “was considered the holy grail of vert skateboarding at the time.” (tonywak.com). Hawk retired from professional skating in 2003.
More Than a Skateboarder
Tony Hawk has done so much for the skateboarding community. He has a foundation that helps build skate parks in underprivileged areas and he’s given over 10 million dollars to 600 skatepark projects around the world per tonyhawk.com, in addition to writing a few books that cover his amazing life story and career.
Handing Out Roses
Joyner Lucas said it best “ain’t nothin’ worst than losin’ your hero and couldn’t say bye. And we never know just when it’s our time, the legends are gone and we don’t know why. So before they go, look here go a toast so give ’em a rose while they still alive.” It is important to give athletes and whoever your heroes are the respect they have earned before they are no longer with us. So shout out to Tony Hawk for everything he has done for the skateboarding community and everything he will continue to do for the skateboarding community.