Tony Hawk explains why people don’t recognize him

Tony Hawk explains why he thinks people don’t recognize him now (Getty for The Skatepark Project)
Tony Hawk explains why he thinks people don’t recognize him now (Getty for The Skatepark Project)

Tony Hawk isn’t himself, according to his fans.

The 56-year-old legend is often approached by people on the street who believe him to look like the professional skateboarder they know and love, but don’t always think it’s him. Speaking to People, Hawk detailed his theory as to why he thinks this always happens.

“I think it’s more that people know either my name or my face, but a lot of times they see me now, and they think, ‘Well, I don’t think of him as being older,’” he admitted.

Hawk, who named his skateboard company Birdhouse after his Birdman nickname, understands his fans recognize the younger version of him, the young man competing before he retired. He noted: “They think I’m just stuck in this time capsule of my twenties and thirties, because that’s where my video game character is.”

“So they get surprised by saying he couldn’t be older or have gray hair, and they go, ‘Well yeah. You look like him,’” Hawk added.

And for those who may not believe this happens to Hawk, he said: “It happens all the time. In fact, it happens so much that I stopped sharing it on social media, because people think that I was fabricating it.”

“But it’s all true. If you followed me around for a day, you’ll see that it does happen, and it’s usually in a funny sort of awkward interaction.”

Hawk spoke to People, promoting his new collaboration with Starbucks with their new initiative entitled, “Try This At Home” – a play on his trademark catchphrase, “Don’t Try This At Home”. Assuming his “dare devil” persona once again, the athlete is meant to encourage customers to take a risk and make coffee at home, specifically the brand’s iced coffee and cold brew concentrate.

“A lot of people are used to seeing me do skate tricks and stunts that have the disclaimer ‘Don’t Try This at Home,’ but this is something that you can actually try at home,” Hawk told the outlet.

Because people don’t always have the tools to make cold brew on their own, Starbucks is offering an easy-to-brew cold coffee for their customers to try blending on their own.

Hawk explained: “With these new Starbucks products, you can actually make that quality at home.”

For him, the launch of the at-home concentrate is exciting because he drinks coffee multiple times a day, without any milk or cream. And this habit hasn’t changed since his 2003 retirement.

Though the skater bowed out of professional competitions 21 years ago, he confessed to People last year that he would never be done skating.

“I had this conversation with a few of my friends who are kind of in the same generation where you hear about professional athletes that retire, and I mean, truly retire, truly leaving the activity behind,” Hawk said. “And that baffles me. If it’s something that brought you so much joy and success, how could you just completely hang it up?”

“I have to keep skating,” he said.