Despite being one of the first dudes to ollie into the Love fountain, first-gen CKY ties, the best wheel ad ever, etc., Mike Maldonado never fit in a convenient Philly nostalgist narrative the way Kalis + Stevie, Wenning + Pappalardo or Ricky + Reason et al. do. Even so, he’s managed to keep a place in our hearts and minds in recent years by giving some of the best interviews of any nineties pro. The dude can tell a story.
The squad behind Plain & Simple, a mid-2000s Pennsylvania video that emerged in the post-apocalyptic era when Love was completely pink-plantered and impossible to skate, just remixed a bunch of his footage from that time. There’s a forgotten hole in the greater understanding of Philly skate history, roughly from The DC Video til the Ishod/Suciu/Sourbeer Love Renaissance that came with Sabotage 3. Videos like Plain And Simple and Stop Fakin’ were around to fill the void if you bothered to look for them (although the latter had a bit of Love footage.)
Mike Maldonado is first-ballot candidate for the tough Pennsylvania working-class
sports skate hero archetype that Frozen in Carbonite outlined in the wake of Creed and Sabotage 4. As interest in purported “robots” has waned in the Everyone is Good 10.0 era, there’s something special in watching a guy who looks like he tries. This era of Maldonado made skateboarding in faceless strip mall parking lots look cooler and tougher than it was ever supposed to have the capacity to be.