Most Iconic Athlete Food and Drink Commercials

By Molly Aronica, TheDailyMeal.com

Sometimes I dream, that he is me,
You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be
(Bum de-di-de-dum DUM)
I dream I move, I dream I groove, like Mike, if I could be like Mike …

Generally speaking, commercials featuring athletes are a dime a dozen and more often than not, it shows. But sometimes the dead-on commercial featuring a product with the just-so concept and the got-it-right superstar athlete combines to create a truly memorable TV moment — a jingle zeitgeist if you will. Be they funny, touching, inspiring, or just plain clever, athlete food commercials can achieve the status of 30-second, never-to-be-forgotten, collective-unconscious classic.

Think about the most resonant athlete food commercials of all time. What comes to mind? “Mean Joe” Greene’s Coke commercial is an obvious one. Gruff, tough, persistent, touching — it hits all the right emotions, the soft spots that cause typical American males to fight back tears at the end of Rocky movies — the ones that make them gulp after slow-motion end-zone passes or stealing-home scenes in the run-of-the-mill sports movies. Then there are the clever commercials, the ones like the Bird versus Jordan game of horse that just hit exactly the right tone. When you think about it, athlete food commercials are an art form… really.

So, what are the most iconic athlete food commercials? There are so many, which makes this a contentious issue. But here are nine great ones. Think we missed your favorite? Note it below or email us.

1. The premise is simple, Larry Bird challenges Michael Jordan to a shoot-out. The winner enjoys a meal at McDonald’s. The result? A classic display of sports and food.

2. Bird and Jordan’s commercial for McDonald’s was so iconic that the mega-chain hired modern NBA stars, LeBron James and Dwight Howard to re-make the ad for Super Bowl XLIV.

3. It’s no secret that NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning are known for their senses of humor and love of brotherly competition. So this über-competitive Oreo-licking contest makes sense.

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