Michael Jordan is without a doubt the most recognizable and iconic basketball player of all time. And that means a commercial from 2003 involving a 1 0n 1 duel between young 23-year-old Jordan and a 39-year-old veteran “MJ ” is probably the most iconic NBA commercial of all time.
This was Gatorade’s first Super Bowl ad, and it debuted at a time when the company boasted a jaw-dropping 80% market share. The commercial logically named “23 VS 39” involves the Wizard Jordan on the end of his career taking a challenge from the young Bulls 23-year-old Jordan for a 1 on 1 game. And it is absolutely perfect.
Michael Jordan is working out in a gym alone, just shooting around. A door opens on the other side of the building and in walks none other than Michael Jordan.
It shows the young Jordan dunking all over him with a variety of his signature dunks including the cradle or double pump reverse, while the older Jordan is using his experience and finesse in the post to trick the young “MJ” with his moves. And all that while trash talking in a manner only MJ himself could, perfectly representing the fantasy scenario unfolding.
It was a show of experience versus hunger. Wisdom and guile head-to-head with brilliant abandon. Head-fakes and shoulder lean on the perimeter against head-fakes and acrobatics around the rim. Trash talk in both directions. Playoff intensity and playground swagger in the air.
It was a masterpiece of editing, especially for the year 2003, as a lot of commercials today could envy the effects from this commercial.