10 of the Greatest Commercials Featuring Athletes

Brent Turner@@BrentTurner1Correspondent IIISeptember 23, 2011

10 of the Greatest Commercials Featuring Athletes

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    As most sports fans can attest, we really do pay attention to the commercials that feature an athlete from pro sports, or even an athlete from our favorite team.  Athletes cross so many different styles now that they are not seen in only commercials, so some companies have reduced their use of athletes to hawk their products.  

    This is a list of ten of the greatest commercials that have featured athletes.  However, there is no way that I could possibly rank them as the ten greatest.  That would be too difficult and then would create much banter and debate where a consensus winner could not be crowned.  

    There are plenty of commercials out there, so feel free to leave your comments and ideas in the section below.  If possible, provide a link so that the fellow Bleacher Report readers can watch the commercial.  

Sometimes I Dream That He Is Me....

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    Nike and Gatorade put out so many commercials of Michael Jordan that it was tough to narrow down the choice, but I can still sing this song to this day.  I am not sure about anyone else, but it is something that inspired me to go out in my driveway and shoot some extra jumpers.

    Gatorade did one in recent years where young Mike faces old Mike, and the fact that you were looking at two Jordans in the same commercial, then a third one from North Carolina, made it a really cool commercial, but it still did not top the above clip.

    I do believe that Jordan carried the NBA during the 1990s and this commercial gave rise to the idea and the greatness of Michael Jordan.  Sure, he was a star long before this, but putting him in his own commercials elevated his status as one of the greatest athletes of all time.  

A Game of Horse for the Big Mac

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    This will be my last slide that has Michael Jordan in it, but I had to include it because of the other legend in the clip.  When this aired during the Super Bowl, it pretty much took on a life of its own.  Guys were quoting the lines "off the backboard, off the scoreboard" the next day at work.  

    It is rare when two Hall of Famers film a commercial together, so having these two guys in the clip for McDonald's made instant revenue for the golden arches.  

    McDonald's tried the recapture the magic with Lebron James and Dwight Howard, and while it was a good attempt, it was too computer generated and seemed our of place from the beginning.  The nod to Larry Bird at the end of the commercial did raise its credibility in my book.

Big Papi and Jorge Posada

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    This one strikes right at the heart of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.  There is something about the way David Ortiz tries to persuade Wally that "it's not what you think" that makes me giggle every time I watch this.  

    I have said for years that the people behind the writing of the ESPN commercials are geniuses. They can take a basic idea of something and make it interesting by just putting an athlete here and there.  So many of their commercials over the years have been fantastic and I hope that they can continue to do more of them.    

The Real Peyton Manning

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    Sure, this isn't a commercial for any one product, but rather Manning offering his advice to youngsters.  It is more of a Public Service Announcement that aired on Saturday Night Live, but it is stinking funny.  I like the fact that Peyton Manning is not afraid to make fun of himself in this or any of the other commercials that he has been in.

    Best wishes to Manning on a speedy recovery.  The NFL is sure a lot more interesting when he plays.

Mean Joe Green Loves His Coke

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    This is one of the classic commercials of all time.  There is not much that I really can say about this, so I am not going to try. The idea of a youngster offering his favorite player a drink of refreshing Coke makes this commercial timeless. I always think that you can tell how great a commercial is when the company tries to remake it, as Coke did just recently with Troy Polamalu, but tried to turn that in to more of a comedic commercial.

Shaq and His Made Scrabble Skills

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    One of the great things about Shaq is that he never took himself too seriously.  Even in the middle of a hotly contested game, the big fella could be seen laughing and joking around at the appropriate times. Many of you may have forgotten about this commercial like I did, but it is a fun commercial that becomes even better when you see all the words Shaq has created on the board.  


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    People forget how athletic Deion Sanders really was and the kind of player that he turned out to be.  In terms of athletic ability, you could put Deion up there with Bo Jackson with the ability to succeed in two major sports.  

    Prime got his recognition with his induction to the Hall of Fame this year, but I don't think Cooperstown will ever call.  However, that should not stand in the way of us acknowledging the fact that Sanders was a special athlete.

Gretzky Enjoying a Cold Drink

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    This is one leaves me at a loss of words.  It almost has that Saturday Night Live feel in which the actors mock a particular product or endorse a fictional product.  As I watched this, it was one of those that the music in the video will stay with you long after the commercial is over.  

    Having the greatest hockey player ever in your commercial is economic gold to a country that adores hockey.  On the other hand, I can see why the Great One never got too many calls to be a company's pitchman.

Bring Pepper Back

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    A few months ago, I wrote an article explaining some of the things that I missed in baseball.  One of the slides was the "No Pepper" signs that were scattered behind home plate.  Most baseball fans know what pepper is, but to the average fan, they had no idea.  

    The underlying message here is true.  Pepper is a great tradition in a great sport, so it is fun to see this commercial bringing that to the public.

Lil Penny

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    These Lil Penny commercials were a line of fantastic commercials and the fact that Chris Rock was involved makes them even better.  I don't necessarily think too highly of Chris Rock all the time, but this is a role that he nails, when it sounds like he is complaining and talking trash to someone else.  

    Building on the Griffey for President slide, this is one of the better ones that allows Rock just to keep talking throughout the whole thing.  It is almost as if we all have a friend that doesn't shut up, and always has an opinion about something.  Props to Nike for developing these lines of commercials.


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    Once again, this was not the ten greatest commercials, but ten that I think are worth watching again.  I know I have missed many of them over the years, so if you have one that you like, please let me know. Remember to provide a link so we all can enjoy your selection.