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Culture

People not recognizing Tony Hawk as Tony Hawk is the most hilarious and wholesome thing ever

People not recognizing Tony Hawk as Tony Hawk is the most hilarious and wholesome thing ever

My best friend lives in San Diego. One day a few years ago, her teenage son came home and told her he'd made a new friend at the skate park. He talked about how they had struck up a conversation, the guy had given him some pointers, and they'd chit-chatted about this and that. "He was really cool," her son said. Then he showed her a selfie they'd taken together.

Yeah, his "new friend" was the skateboarding icon Tony Hawk. True story.

Tales of Tony Hawk not being recognized as Tony Hawk—even for people who actually know who Tony Hawk is—have become the stuff of legends. The 52-year-old made a name for himself in the skateboarding world decades ago and is credited with bringing the sport into the mainstream. Even in 2020, he was listed among the Top 10 skateboarders of all time. He's had his own video game, cameos in film and television shows, his own clothing line—everything, apparently, but a recognizable face.

The "people not recognizing Tony Hawk as Tony Hawk" thing is so common it's become a meme of its own. Hawk himself jokes about it all the time, sharing hilarious interactions he has with people on his Twitter account.


This one from a couple of years ago has re-gone viral:

Which is just one of many similar stories. Hawk told Business Insider that it happens often, but he only shares the interactions that are the funniest.



Now the meme itself results in some funny interactions with people.


People's funny reactions to the meme are becoming their own meme: "I will know Tony Hawk when I see him."




Part of what makes the whole thing so delightful is that Tony Hawk himself is so delightful. He's down-to-earth, friendly, doesn't take himself too seriously, does a lot of connecting out in the community, and is just a genuinely likable guy.



And to top it all off, he's still a heck of a skater. Though he retired from the pro circuit in 1999, he still skateboards for fun and charity. In fact, he recently landed a 720—two full 360-degree turns in the air off a ramp—which isn't easy for even a young skater to pull off, and then auctioned the board to raise money to help build more public skateparks. (He did say it might be his last time pulling off that trick, but who knows. Good for him for pushing the age envelope.)

Tony Hawk—skating legend, father of five, nice guy to all, supporter of community parks, and man that everyone adores but nobody recognizes—thanks for being such a ray of sunshine in our world. May we know you when we see you, or at least be entertaining enough to make your Twitter account if we don't.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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