Understandably Shaun White is squeezing out as much money as possible while his fame is at an all-time high. His celebrity status and marketability expands well beyond his traditional sports in which he's made his name. Recognizing the fact he's only 25 with more than three quarters of his life still to live who can blame him for trying to earn as much money as possible while he's still on top.
Earlier this week he made headlines by being the only pro skateboarder to land on Forbes magazine's Top 10 Sports Athlete Brands with an estimated value of $7 million.
Recently Shaun parted ways with large Action Sports sponsors like Red Bull to pursue more traditional larger mainstream sponsors such as driving cars with BF Goodrich and chewing gum with Stride.
His latest business venture has him partnering with D6 sports to develop Shaun White Supply Co. At the Dew Tour Las Vegas, SW will be announcing the launch of his all new line of action sports products. This hard goods line will include skateboards, bikes, protective gear, scooters, ramps, rails and action sports training aids.
That's right, soon you'll be able to buy a Shaun White BMX Bike, or a Shaun White Stunt Scooter.
It's understandable what Shaun is trying to do, but stunt scooters and BMX bikes? There's little doubt this line will be successful, especially with middle America but don't expect the hard-core BMXers to stop buying Haro or Hoffman bikes for a cheaper bike endorsed by a snowboarder/skateboarder. But the kids in middle America will be over these products as they are designed to be affordable as well as endorsed by SW.
Has SW gone too far this time? Has he moved too far from where he came from?
Not sure, but a famous philosopher once uttered this great piece of advice "Don't hate the player, hate the game" -Snoop Dogg
Oakley and Shaun White haven't had their fill of China. That's why they're returning for a second time for the Oakley & Shaun White present Air and Style Beijing.
Last year's inaugural event was a 6star TTR event that witnessed some of the most progressive contest snowboarding of the season. The massive man-made set up consisted of a forty-story ramp and kicker that was built in the middle of the famed Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium in downtown Beijing.
Over 8,800 spectators filled the seats and had their minds melted by the riding from over 15 of the world's top riders.
This December, the contest will descend upon Beijing once again for an event that is sure to be filled with incredible riding set within a spectacular setting. It's shredding in China, does it get any better than that?
Check out the preview piece for this year's event.
The Oakley Air & Style Beijing enters into its second year this season and it promises to be a great snowboarding contest. In last years Oakley Shaun White Air & Style the riders benefitted from ideal conditions on the ramp and kicker, towering almost 40 meters above the ground of the Olympic Soccer Stadium, enabling the riders to perform tricks with a long airtime. Thus 8,800 spectators enjoyed a series of double corks and other tricks with the highest level of difficulty and outstanding style. The young Chinese crowd was enthusiastic about the athletic performances of the 16 world-class snowboarders and two local Chinese heroes as well as about the show of Chinese music super star Wang Leehom.
Shaun White came into the X Games sporting a new mustache and goatee, enhancing his rock star persona, and left with a shiny gold medal to hang around his flowing red locks and neck.
Having unleashed a dizzying array of acrobatics on his final run during Saturday night's Skateboard Vert final, while trailing longtime rival Pierre Luc-Gagnon, White drew a score of 93.00 to pull ahead. PLG fell after dropping into the ramp as time on the jam session expired, and White erupted in jubilation.
"I just wanted to put it down for all my fans who came out," White, 24, told ESPN's Keir Dillon immediately after his remarkable triumph. "I've been working so hard to get this season going ... I was working my way through my tricks and after that [720-degree spin] ... I had so much energy I was like, 'I'm making this happen; I don't care.' "
PLG had earned a seemingly unbeatable score of 91.66, largely on the merit of technically-difficulty heel flips and above-the-ramp spins, which included 540 variations and a 720. Bucky Lasek (87.66) was third.
White, whose final run was capped by a remarkable heel-flip body-varial front-side 540, not only erased PLG's hopes of a four-peat, but earned his first victory in the event since 2007, thus reclaiming the medal from his friend and nemesis.
It was a momentous triumph because it gives White, whose ego demands success, a second gold medal in the summer X Games, proving the first was no fluke and that the two-sport athlete can out-perform the world's best on skateboarding's biggest stage.
"I'm beside myself," he said.
(White has two Olympic gold medals and 11 Winter X Games gold medals as a snowboarder.)
To be sure, it seems everything is going White's way these days. He just had a cameo in the Justin Timberlake movie "Friends With Benefits," and has all sorts of sponsorship deals in the works, including new signature clothing and apparel lines with Target, his primary sponsor.
But he put an incredible amount of work into his gold-medal performance. He had been practicing tirelessly on the vert ramp at Tony Hawk's house, and recently bought a ramp similar to the type used last summer at the X Games, and set the apparatus up at his home in Carlsbad, Calif.
"The quality of portable ramps has gotten so much better and I'm psyched to have one," he said earlier this week, in an ESPN story. "I'm pretty much the coolest kid on the street. The kids really look up to me now."
-- Photos of Shaun White in action Saturday night are courtesy of Nate Hoppes
Remember when it was a big deal for an action sports athlete to land a spot on a late night talk show? Well, it used to be, until Shaun White started making appearances on those shows every couple months.
With X-Games right around the corner, NBC was feeling the need to get in on the action and booked Mr. White for yet another appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno late last night.
Leno introduced White as the "Greatest Snowboarder of all-time," while Shaun sauntered in sporting a refined look and a massive mustache. Their conversation bounced between the Dew Tours and X Games, and White's motivation to do well in both. Once the necessary plugs for the contests were in place, the duo talked about all the other things Shaun has his hand in. From rally car racing, to his cameo in the Summer blockbuster, Friends with Benefits- they covered it all.
Then Jay's second guest of the evening, Olivia Wilde, came out and White turned all Oprah-like by presenting her with gifts. The first was a jacket from the women's line of Burton's the White Collection and the second was a pack of Stride Whitemint gum, which is apparently Shaun's new signature flavor of the sugary chew...
That left us a bit speechless.
Here's everything that unraveled:
Leno Part 1
Leno Part 2
Leno Part 3
Cameo in Friends with Benefits
As all the action ramps up tomorrow for X Games 17, we're wondering how many over-caffeintaed kids, chewing gigantic pieces of Whitemint gum, will show up screaming for autographs from their favorite redhead? Perhaps even wearing pasted-on mustaches?
Mount Rushmore, the "Shrine of Democracy" is a massive sculpture carved into the face of a mountain in South Dakota. The monument features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of former United States Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
With X Games upon us switching the attention to the Action Sports world we started to think what if there was a Mount Rushmore for Action Sports athletes; which faces would be carved in to the mountain?
Before we considered the athletes, it was important to establish the criteria. For instance, we narrowed the focus of our search to athletes rather than leaving it open to the whole industry. After all, Mt. Rushmore was created from a pool of US Presidents instead of the entire universe of people who made the country really function.
Another guideline is to select an athlete from the one of four major action sports, in this case Surfing, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, and Moto.
Here's the list of accomplishments that must be met for an athlete to be on the mountain:
Now, with clearly defined criteria it's obvious to us which faces to chisel into the granite of Mount Action.
First up is no other than Mr. Tony Hawk. The Grandfather of Skateboarding first stepped onto a skateboard in the 70's at 9 years old and that moment would shape his and skateboarding's reality forever. By the time he was 25, he had competed in 103 pro contests, winning 73 of them and placing second in 19, a record that will almost certainly never be matched. He was crowned vertical skating's World Champion 12 years in a row.
photo courtesy of tonyhawk.com
Tony also became the first skateboarder to ever land a 900, a maneuver that eluded him for 10 years. It was one of skating's most important moments as it played out on national TV during the X Games.
Maybe one of his most impactful contributions to the industry came when he teamed up with Activision to create the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater video game franchise. The video game series became one of the most popular game franchises in history and continues to enjoy widespread success.
Tony has ensured the future of the sport with Tony's Foundation which has donated more than $3.2 million to more than 450 skate park projects throughout the United States.
There's no doubt he exceeds all of the criteria to make our list.
Next on Mount Action with little debate is the planet's greatest surfer, Kelly Slater. No other athlete in the world has maintained such a high level of competition and success for longer than Slater. He won his first world title when he was 20 and recently won his 10th world title at age 38. Name another athlete who has the distinct honor of being the youngest and oldest champion in his sport?
He has a record 46 World Tour victories and 10 World Titles; even Mother Nature is impressed by Slater.
Slater's crossover to the mainstream celebrity status started when he appeared as the recurring character Jimmy Slade on several episodes of the popular TV show Baywatch in the early 90s. He's a regular on ESPN's Sportscenter and he even threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium last summer.
He's been known to date celebrities such as actress Pam Anderson and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen. He's gotten a taste of the rock star life jamming on stage with Eddie Vedder and Jack Johnson.
Maybe the biggest recognition of Slater's impact on the industry came on May 8, 2010 when the United States House of Representatives honored Slater for his "outstanding and unprecedented achievements in the world of surfing and for being an ambassador of the sport and excellent role model."
He started the Kelly Slater Foundation that raises awareness and financial support for existing social and environmentally conscious charities.
Once again there's another lock for the Action Sports Rushmore.
The third face to join this exclusive club belongs to the youngest member but there's little doubt about the impact Shaun White has made in his first 24 years on earth.
He's a two-time Olympic Gold medalist in snowboard halfpipe, and his success at X Games is unparalleled. (10 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze medals) Not to mention, he's won X Games gold in skateboard halfpipe as well. White seemingly wins every competition he enters; even when he doesn't it still feels like he did.
White really made his mark on the industry in the winter of 2009 when he teamed up with Red Bull to create a custom half pipe in the backwoods of Colorado. It's there that Shaun perfected a series of new tricks that changed snowboarding forever.
During that year leading up to the Olympics snowboarders from around the world practiced feverishly to learn the "Double Cork" turning the sport into a frenzy. At no time in snowboarding has one dude advanced the sport to the level Shaun did in one season. One of the tricks he invented was the 1280 Double McTwist that eventually won him his gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Due to his Olympic success, White rose to mega-celebrity status. He's been featured on the cover of Rolling Stone twice, he recently made his Hollywood debut in "Friends with benefits" playing himself and continues to be the face of top brands like Oakley, Red Bull, and Burton.
Without a doubt, his success and mainstream notoriety continues to bring people to the mountains around the world every winter.
And the final face on Mount Action is Mr. Travis "thumbs up" Pastrana. Not only is he absurdly talented on both two and four wheels he's by far the gnarliest dude on the mountain. There's nothing this nice guy won't do and he's proved it with stunts like back-flipping into the Grand Canyon on his motorcycle and jumping out of an airplane without a parachute in Costa Rica.
His success came fast and often. At only 27 years of age he's considered by many to have reached legend status. He was a freestyle champion at age 14, a five-time amateur motocross champion, 125cc pro national outdoor champion, 125cc east Supercross series champion, and the most successful freestyle motocross rider in X Games history. He won 4 straight Rally America championships and an X Games gold in rally. If Travis does something there's a pretty good chance he's going to be good at it.
Perhaps the moment where his celebrity status reached the pinnacle was during a live broadcast on ESPN during the 2006 X Games. Travis looked into the camera, told his mom he loved her in case he died and then proceeded to pull the first ever double backflip on a motorcycle. It was easily one of the most defining moments in X Games history.
His life was documented in the film 199 Lives and he's the driving force behind the wildly successful Nitro Circus Crew that has its own series on MTV and is currently in the process of filing a 3D feature film.
Try and name another athlete willing to attempt a weekend such as this; Moto X Best Trick on Thursday and Freestyle on Friday, both in Los Angeles, Nationwide debut on Saturday in Indianapolis and Rally Cross on Sunday back in Los Angeles.
Don't let this humble charming fellow fool you, he's only getting started and he's already a legend.
There you have it, if the Action Sports world had a Mount Rushmore off its own these are the four faces that should be engraved in stone to memorialize their accomplishments for years to come.
Like the original Mount Rushmore, our decision to select these four faces was plagued with massive controversy and opposition, so I expect there to be some here.
So tell us in your opinion. What four athletes you would select for Mount Action?