Tony Hawk: the Man, the Myth, the Legend That No One Recognizes

Without a doubt, Tony Hawk is the most famous skateboarder in the world.

I grew up watching him win nearly every competition in the sport. He did tricks other skateboarders couldn’t land. I mean, he invented tricks on vert that no one thought were possible.

pro skateboarder Tony Hawk
Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

He didn’t just dominate the sport, either. He championed a billion-dollar video game franchise, started a foundation, and pursued countless business ventures.

All of this has made the name Tony Hawk synonymous with the sport, for skateboarding fanatics and casual observers alike.

But Tony Hawk’s face? Apparently it’s not as well-known as his name. At least, not these days.

Tony Hawk Writes About His Funny Encounters on Twitter

In recent years, Hawk has been using his Twitter account to share some of the funnier encounters he has had.

“I think sometimes people, I assume, get excited, and they’re trying to register it… so they’ll just sort of say things without really giving them critical thought,” Hawk told Business Insider. “I think that’s usually what ends up happening where it’s like, ‘You’re, uh, T-T-Tom Brady!’ Where it just comes out because they know there’s some sports star whose name starts with a T.”

He admits that it happens way more often than he actually writes about on social media, but he shares the best ones, at least.

“Most of the time those are the things I like to share, because they’re much more humorous interactions,” Hawk continued.

He Gets Mistaken For Plenty of Other People

According to Hawk, he’s been mistaken for other sports celebs, like Lance Armstrong, and fictional characters, too — Tony Stark, anyone?

He Gets Mistaken For Himself, Too

My favorite has got to be when he gets told he looks like Tony Hawk.

Hawk says that he doesn’t usually tell people who he is, unless they explicitly ask.

“It feels pretentious to be like ‘don’t you know who I am?’ I’ve never subscribed to that sort of attitude,” Hawk said.

“Sometimes people will be upset when they find out later. They’ll be like, ‘why didn’t you tell me?,'” He continued, saying he usually (hilariously) responds, “Well, you didn’t ask me!”

Though even the folks who realize they’re in the presence of Tony Hawk often botch the interaction anyway.

I guess we can’t really blame people, though. Hawk has been retired from professionally competing since 1999. You know, the same year he became the very first person ever to land a 900 during an event.

Most recently, Hawk partnered with Dell and American Express to speak about authenticity in business at Dreamforce in San Francisco. According to him, authenticity is essential in experiential marketing and developing an enduring and successful brand.

I think he’s probably right, considering how his fame quite literally precedes him — as evidenced in his many interactions with strangers.

Hawk Isn’t Complaining

Of course, Hawk posts his interactions as a way for the rest of us to laugh with him. He’s certainly not complaining at all, though he says that’s sometimes the misconception.

“I get recognized all the time, to the point where it’s kind of strange. I never imagined I’d ever be famous from skateboarding,” he told Business Insider.

“Even today, I was grocery shopping, and two different people stopped me just to say what’s up and one guy congratulated me for being in the California Hall of Fame and that kind of thing I never expect or anticipate. But it’s cool!”