In the case of the fictional star of ESPN's new commercial, that poor guy's parents didn't know the kind of burden they'd be placing upon their son by naming him Michael Jordan.
The ad trails a non-famous, white, middle-aged businessman as he faces the challenges of everyday life with the added challenge of having a very famous moniker. As he encounters maitre d's, food deliverymen and limousine drivers, Michael Jordan inevitably disappoints them all by not being the Michael Jordan.
It's a problem that unfortunately faces many members of our society in this day and age—anyone named Michael Jackson or James Brown or Will Smith can understand. They'll never measure up to the real thing, and as a result, they are doomed to be perennial disappointments to those around them, at no fault of their own.
In the case of this Jordan commercial, it's not crazy—it's sports.
The tag line pokes fun at obsessive-minded sports fan that runs rampant in today's world, who hears the name "Michael Jordan"—doubtlessly a very common name—and immediately thinks of nothing else except one of the greatest basketball players ever. Meanwhile, this poor Michael Jordan has no choice but to weather the disappointment of pretty much everyone he meets when he turns out not to be the real thing.
For most of us hardcore sports fans, we know that making fun of our obsession is fair game. Our sports-centered lives can be comical. But this ad—instead of going with the typical secretly-watching-the-game-on-your-phone-at-dinner or refusing-to-talk-to-your-Packers-fan-neighbor angle—is refreshing.
Sometimes, it's hard to care about hurting the feelings of the guy who shares Michael Jordan's name when you're expecting an encounter with the real thing. It seems heartless and it seems crazy, but it's not—it's just sports.