The abridged history of flatground trends in the current decade goes something like this: we entered the 2010s doing 360 flips before/between/after every single trick, then decided that varial flips were so underutilized that we over-utilized them, giving way to a brief flirtation with plain-regular-old heelflips.
Oh, and between all of that, backside big spins went from being a seldom used Welshian or Ellingtonian maneuver, to the lay-up of flatground tricks. Every single bump-to-bar ollie, wallie over something, or trash can line of the past five years has been proceeded by a backside bigspin on flat. If you spent sixty minutes watching skate footage released between 2012-2018, at least one of those minutes will have been spent watching people confirm to you that yes, they can backside bigspin on flat.
In 2018, most skaters who have cameras pointed at them have began to feel confident that the general public believes in their flatground backside bigspin, 360 flip, or backside bigspin capabilities.
But now — there’s a loneliness. It feels empty when you end a line. The pressure is there. You have to squeeze another trick out. But what?
Apart from Kevin Tierney’s love affair with the switch laser heel, the most re-blogged flat trick in Tumblr history never caught on. When the entire northeast spent the better part of the decade attempting a white whale of a stylish varial flip, such a complicated maneuver is understandably out of reach.
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Anybody who follows professional sports knows that February is a deadzone. NFL is over, ESPN pretends to care about MLB spring training, 80% of the NBA is in a mid-season slump, and hockey is hockey. So in 2013, sports media decided to fill up February programming slots by giving the most ubiquitous athlete in the history of sports even more attention because of his 50th birthday. There may one day be a better player than Jordan, but there probably won’t be one with better marketing and merchandising. (See: Any Kobe shoe.) If you have been alive for over a decade, you’ve likely owned something with a Jumpman on it; Lebron could fulfill his promise of eight championships, and still wouldn’t make it to that level.
Jordan’s career had been as much about championships as sneakers and advertising. M.J. will forever be “the greatest,” because he existed at a moment when an athlete could revolutionize a sport to a point that his personal brand influences something as distant as skateboarding.
The shoe parallels are obvious: Anybody who saw the Bones Brigade documentary (it’s on Netflix Instant, by the way) remembered that the Dunk/Jordan 1 was a skater favorite long before skate boutiques got SB accounts. The Caballero (before it got cut down to the Half Cab) had a bit of Jordan DNA in its design. The brand would even become indirectly responsible for the unfortunate air bubble craze of the late nineties.
February is a deadzone for skate content too, so here is a look back at some of the skaters who have most visibly been inspired by Jordan, sometimes beyond mere footwear.
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