Tony Hawk is not only the most decorated skater ever, but he also happens to be the wealthiest. Aside from earning tens of millions during his illustrious career from prizes, endorsements, and appearances, Tony has also amassed a sizeable fortune from his eponymous videogame which has generated billions of dollars in revenue worldwide.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at Tony’s rise to success and the challenges he had to overcome for him to become one of the greatest skaters ever.
Young, Gifted, and Obsessive: Tony’s Early Life
Born in May 12, 1962, Tony Hawk was a hyperactive child. The young Tony had a fear of failure and would sometimes set unrealistic goals for himself. According to his mother, he was so hard on himself once that he hid in a ravine and had to be physically coaxed when he struck out in a baseball game.
His frustration was so extreme that his worried parents had him psychologically tested. It turns out that young Tony was gifted with an IQ of 144. His school would immediately recommend that he take advanced classes to temper his restlessness.
Tony As A Young Skater
Steve Hawk, Tony’s older brother, would give Tony his first skateboard. Encouraged by his parents, it came as little surprise that Tony started competing at the young age of 12. He would turn pro 2 years later and would become the youngest pro skater at 14.
As part of the Bones Brigade, a group of young and promising skaters riding for the skateboard company, Powell Peralta, Tony was consistently winning competitions and setting records while earning thousands of dollars along the way. Finally, Tony had an outlet for his intemperate energy.
Early Success and Depression
Tony would set himself apart from other vertical skaters. While his main rival Christian Hosoi was living large and partied like a rockstar, Hawk was disciplined and was a role model. Their skating style couldn’t be more different as well. While the charismatic Hosoi was all style and flair, Hawk’s skating was seen as technical to the point of becoming “robotic”.
Tony’s father founded the National Skateboarding Association in 1983, which presided over numerous competitions. This put Tony in an undesirable position, as many skaters felt that his wins were brought about by his father’s influence. This, along with being branded a “clown” skater doing “circus tricks”, would soon find Tony wanting to quit professional skateboarding altogether.
He would eventually find his center again after a talk with fellow skater Rodney Mullen who himself had quit competing while still maintaining a passion for the sport. Reinvigorated, he would soon become the legendary skater we know today.
Tony Hawk: Pro Skater Legend and Businessman
Despite his early-career emotional low point, Tony Hawk has always been successful financially. He bought a house when he was just seventeen. Despite skateboarding's nadir in the early 90s, Tony would found his own skate company, Birdhouse.
In 1998 he would sign a deal with ActiVision for the highly successful videogame series Tony Hawk Pro Skater. It would make more than $1.4 billion, making it one of the most successful videogame series ever. His 2022 net worth is $140 million.