If you were to look around at athletes in almost every sport you can see that famous swoosh on the sides of most athletes’ feet. Most athletes can also say that they have worn a pair of Nike shoes or cleats at one point in their careers. Those athletes also have their own story to tell as well. Michael Jordan’s is of a kid who never started a high school basketball game until his senior year and in college had to fight amongst some of the best on his team to get his starting position. Michael Jordan is now considered the single best basketball player of all time and is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Others such as Tom Brady who was drafted in the 6th round as the 199th pick of the NFL draft in 2000 and has now been the face of the New England Patriots football franchise for over a decade and is well on his way to making the Hall of Fame. These stories are what attract young athletes to want to be like those who came before them in the world of sports. Going back to the Michael Jordan ad, it tells young athletes that it’s okay to fail, but not okay to not even attempt the task given. Michael Jordan is one of the single most influential people of all not only to kids who grew up playing basketball in the 1980s and 1990s, but also to those who play basketball now as well. This quote can go, not only for athletes, but also for anyone trying to achieve the American dream. In a way, Michael Jordan achieved his own version of the American dream he put in front of himself.
`The Nike advertisement and Laurence Shames’ article “The More Factor” portray similar messages about the ways that Americans want more, whether it be more land, money, or success, only one deals with the modern American athlete and the other deals with the American working society in general. Shames portrays this idea of the American working class wanting more with the frontier while Nike tries to sell their product to athletes as the product that can help them achieve more. Shames says “[f]rontier; opportunity; more” (92) in his article to show how people had this sense of elitism to want to be better than everyone else. This also goes for Nike using Michael Jordan and inspiring quotes such as “ to make athletes want to achieve more. The advertisers at Nike do a great job using this idea to get their products out to every athlete that they gear themselves toward. This is an interesting interpretation of an advertisement that is just supposed to sell a product. There can be many explanations for the way that advertisers at Nike try to draw attention to the hardworking athlete trying to achieve greatness. In a sense this can be related to the idea of populism in it’s own way. Populism, by definition, is the “representation or extolling of the common person; the working class, the underdog, etc” (dictionary.com). Athletes can also be divided up into these classes of