Be Like Mike: when Jordan and Gatorade unite

The 1991 NBA championship of Michael Jordan is considered an important time in the basketball star’s history; it was his first with the Bulls, however it also marked his transformation from great sportsman to world icon. In that same year, the sports drink brand, Gatorade, tapped Jordan to be their main brand ambassador. Also faced with an opportunity to represent Coca-Cola, Jordan opted for Gatorade, to avoid sinking into the abyss of the already many faces of Coke ads during that time. His decision spurred a process of many months, and was based on a campaign centered around the song, “Be Like You” from The Jungle Book -  it was poised to be impactful.

However, Disney demanded one million dollars for the use of the song, forcing Gatorade to make the only decision they had left – create a song for the ad. Disney’s behavior during the negotiation process did little to impress Jordan, so he and Gatorade teamed up with their competition, Warner Bros. This set in motion the iconic ads of Nike with Bugs Bunny, which resulted in the inspiration for the film Space Jam:


































The lyrics to Be Like Mike were written on a bar napkin and the melody was crafted in just 15 minutes, but this was the key to the success of the ad. Jordan himself sang this song to Magic Johnson during their clashes at Dream Team trainings and it was not long before it was then converted into the motto of many children who wanted to be like Mike:



The image of Mike and Gatorade, remains strong to this day via the arrival of the collection, which presents Jordan with a range of shirts, sweaters, caps, and shoes. You can now find the Jordan and Gatorade collection on our online shop!