Dunk the Shark
Each year basketball players seem to get bigger and bigger, and with their size, salaries and endorsement deals seem to grow with them. I watch them dunk like they were reaching for a Nerf hoop on the back of their closet door. All the physical signs are there that b-ball players are getting reallly big, but I’ve noticed the signs have crept into the world of graphic design and branding.
Exhibit A: the Nike Air Jordan “Jumpman” logo. Ideal, perfectly proportioned, like the man himself.
Exhibit B: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
Call me nostalgic, but growing up and watching Michael Jordan play basketball was watching something amazing. I’m not and never have been a big sports fan, but when I saw him play, I could see the creativity in his moves, the shots, the dunks, all with his crazy tongue sticking out. Then came his brand – Air Jordan, and that logo crystalized his essence. The Air Jordan logo is almost Vitruvian, ideal proportions and body form (ideal if you’re making a dunk from the free-throw line).
Exibit C: the Dunkman logo for Shaquille O’Neal’s custom shoe line – too oversized to be graceful, like the man himself.
Now let’s fast-forward one or two generations to today with one of the superstars of basketball – Shaquille O’Neal. This dude is huge. And because he’s so enormous, there’s no need for elegance or style in his game. Just get the ball into the basket is his game. Put him near the hoop so he can hop a little and toss it in, or hell, jump up there and grab that rim like it was a kid’s jungle gym. Take a 7 foot 1 inch tall player and add a slightly taller 10 foot hoop and you get the Dunkman logo.
So I ask you and I ask myself, Has basketball jumped the shark?