Tony Hawk, 56, says people expect him to look like he did in the video games

Tony Hawk says people constantly come up to him but aren’t entirely convinced that he *is* the legendary skateboarder.

Tony Hawk

Like Michael Jordan with basketball and Wayne Gretzky with hockey, Tony Hawk will always be the face of professional skateboarding. But if you encounter him in public, you might find he looks a bit different…that is, older. But ready for this? He did get older, it’s just not something strangers can get used to.

For a while, Tony Hawk would post on social media his encounters with strangers, normally with them saying something along the lines of, “Hey, you look a lot like Tony Hawk.” This, of course, makes sense considering, you know, he is Tony Hawk. But that he now looks like the 56-year-old he is is a jarring experience for people who approach him. “I think it’s more that people know either my name or my face, but a lot of times they see me now, and they think, ‘Well, I don’t think of him as being older.’…They think I’m just stuck in this time capsule of my twenties and thirties, because that’s where my video game character is. So they get surprised by saying he couldn’t be older or have gray hair, and they go, ‘Well yeah. You look like him.’” Wonder if David Spade has the same issue…

It’s sort of funny to think that people would expect him to not have aged in the 25 years since the Pro Skater franchise launched, but, as he says, “It’s all true. If you followed me around for a day, you’ll see that it does happen, and it’s usually in a funny sort of awkward interaction.”

Tony Hawk has had one of the greatest careers of any athlete. But unlike pretty much all of his contemporaries, he turned pro as a teenager, kickflipping his run at just 14. From there, he was a marked phenom on the half pipe and helped bring skateboarding into the living room like no other singular athlete, sticking the 900 at the X Games and serving as the face of the aforementioned video games. He was even considered to lead an early Space Jam sequel! On his success and what he could do with it, Hawk once said, “As far as endorsements and commercialization, I was the first one to dare to go there. I didn’t care about the backlash of it. I had been in skating for so long that I was never trying to covet it. I always thought there should be a bigger audience for it and appreciated it.”

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 were remastered in 2020, bringing fresh life to the series and adding an online component that let you upload custom parks for others to try their own 900 in.

Did you play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater when you were younger? What are your memories of the games?

Source: People

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.