be like mike: surprising details about the creative process

an article by darren rovell on remembers the be like mike gatorade commercial and tells the story behind how the iconic ad was made. the most important dimension of the production was of course, michael jordan‘s participation.

quaker paid a hefty price to land michael jordan — a 10-year, $13.5 million deal and the promise that he would be the beverage‘s only endorser.

hefty means big. land means get, sign. $13.5 million deal is read thirteen point five million dollar deal. year and dollar are both singular because they are part of adjective phrases that refer to the deal that jordan signed with gatorade. if u only talk about the quantities of 10 years or 13.5 million dollars, years and dollars are plural. a beverage is a drink. an endorser promotes a product.


quaker paid a hefty price to land michael jordan

fun efl practice 🙂 richyrocks english on youtube

the commercial that everyone recognizes as be like mike underwent (went through) significant changes in the days before it debuted (appeared the first time) on august 8, 1991. ad executive bernie pitzel saw the original and…

[he] thought it was awful. it merely featured highlights of jordan dunking, something that nike had shown countless times in its spots with jordan over the previous six years.

awful is terrible. merely means only. feature means show. highlights are videos of the most impressvie moments. dunk is the basketball play where the player slams the ball directly in to the basket. had shown is past perfect. it refers to the moment when bernie pitzel first saw the ad and the 6 years before. countless means too many to be counted. the -less suffix, used in words like countless, harmless and flawless, means without. spot in this context means commercial.


jordan was famous for dunking but there are only a couple of dunks in be like mike

pitzel’s inspiration was to have kids looking up to michael jordan while the song i wanna be like u from the disney movie jungle book played. disney asked for more money than gatorade was willing to pay, so…

pitzel went back to the drawing board, sat down at his favorite italian restaurant, and came up with the “be like mike” lyrics on a napkin in four hours. pitzel put the lyrics to four local music houses and quickly settled on jingle specialists ira antelis and steve shafer.

back to the drawing board means a new idea is necessary. come up with means create. put to means present. music houses refers to companies that write music for commercials. settle on means select after some consideration. jingles are short, hard to forget songs used in commercials.


an ironic example of back to the drawing board by artist peter arno

using past perfect and third conditional (a hypothetical observation about the past), antelis indicated that he preferred the like mike jingle to the jungle book option.

if we had used music from ‘the jungle book,’ the advertisement would have been forgotten.

when a hypothetical situation in the past is presented with if, past perfect is commonly used, in this case, we had used. it can be expressed the same way using the standard third conditional structure would have used. would have been forgotten is an example of passive voice in the third conditional. “the public” is not mentioned but it is implied that the public would have forgotten a michael jordan commercial set to music from the jungle book.

while be like mike is considered an all-time great in marketing, it didn’t really do it’s job in terms of producing sales…

while the commercial was lauded throughout the world, it actually didn’t translate to dollars and cents. people loved it, but the efficacy of the product wasn’t featured, which meant that the original spot might have been better for sales, but not for fans of jordan.

laud means admire, praise. throughout means everywhere. actually means in fact. efficacy refers to the results gatorade produced. featured means emphasized. meant is the irregular past tense of mean. might have been is another example of 3rd conditional.

check out this original richyrocks jingle on youtube 🙂

the english practice extra for this post is additional analysis of be like mike. it contains definitions for drill down, recall, like to introduce dialogue, ima, at all, make fun of, poser, be like, douchebag, nailed it and second conditional.

these words are also in the dialogue and have been discussed previously on actually, though, should, gotta, even, fucking, why the fuck and asshole.

did the be like mike commercial inspire u to drink gatorade or play basketball? share your experience under leave a reply


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