I did this work for 2K sport at the E3 Expo, (the world’s premier trade show for computer and video games and related products), in Los Angeles. I had already done a work for the XBox game Gears of War a couple of years earlier, so I knew the spot. NBA2K13 is a video game that features Michael Jordan.
It is hard to be more famous than Michael Jordan. His biography on the National Basketball Association website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. According to a Forbes article, Jordan Brand generates $1 billion in sales for Nike.
It can be difficult to portray celebrities, especially sports figures because their appearance can change significantly during their careers. There are also not as many images of them as one would think. The release of their images can be tightly controlled, and when the images are managed the public gets a particular idea about the look of the person that may correspond to the reality. When I do works that use portraits of celebrities the images also need to be approved by the player or their publicist. It is always a relief to get the thumbs up in these cases. I don’t like to copy single images when I can help it. I prefer to construct a likeness from numerous images when I cannot work from life. Obviously meeting the person is better when possible. For this image I portrayed the young Jordan in his famous Bulls uniform.