Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is arguably the greatest action sports game of all time and a perfect sequel.
It isn’t a massive leap forward from the first game, but everything was done a little bit better. The level design was better set up for combos, the trick animations a little cleaner, the controls a bit tighter, and a ton of sub goals that made 100 percent completion a real test. Also, the addition of the manual made it possible to link together massive lines and pull in huge scores.
The Tony Hawk games have always featured playable, real world skateboarders. THPS2 had 13 riders, arguably the greatest collection of talent in its era. If someone was to put together a team of professional skateboarders in 2000, it would probably look a lot like the roster of THPS2.
If you ever wondered what these skaters are up to now, this is your guide.
Tony Hawk is doing pretty well for himself. Even if he dropped off the face of the earth completely tomorrow, his legacy is more than set.
He will turn 48 on May 12, but the Birdman is still skating and is the biggest ambassador for skateboarding in the world. Even though he hasn’t spun the infamous 900 in a couple years, he is skating at a high level:
Outside of actually riding the board, Hawk is a busy man. He runs his skateboard brand, Birdhouse and the Tony Hawk Foundation, which raises money to build skateparks in low income communities. In 2012, Hawk launched his YouTube Channel, RIDE, which features video parts and interviews with professional skateboarders young and old.
Even if his fame isn’t at the level that it was during the skateboarding boom of the early 2000's, he is easily the most famous and successful skateboarder of all time. I don’t think that will be ending anytime soon.
As a quick note, his oldest son Riley is also a professional skateboarder. And it isn’t a case of nepotism, he is really freaking good. Riley recently appeared in THPS5... but the less said about that, the better.
The Brazilian vert wizard will turn 40 this year, and he is still blowing the minds of skate fans worldwide. Famous for his ambidextrous style and his unique ability to improvise and turn certain failures into incredible tricks. His famous competitive run at the 2001 X-Games is Burnquist in a nutshell.
Somehow, he has only gotten better. Almost everyone on this list is still skating in some capacity, but Bob is one of the few going just as hard, if not harder, as he did in 2000. The past decade of his career has been spent pushing the limits of what is possible on a structure called the Mega Ramp. He learned how to do Tony Hawk’s signature 900 fakie, which is skater speak for “backwards”. What Bob is up to has to be seen to be believed:
Cab was one of the older skaters in THPS2 at launch, and had settled into an elder statesman role. In the early 80's Cab was arguably the best skateboarder in the world, credited for innovating the Caballerial ollie and the frontside boardslide. He was also one of the first to get his own shoe, the iconic Vans Half Cab, which is still in production.
Today, he is still commonly seen ripping pools at legends jams and special events for Vans. He also made an appearance in Vans’ newest video, Propeller.
Kareem’s heyday was during the mid-nineties, when he starred in videos such as World Industries’ Trilogy. By the time THPS2 had come out, he had settled into running his skateboard brand City Stars, which produced current talents Mikey Taylor, Paul Rodriguez, and Kevin Long.
Kareem doesn’t give many interviews, and there is no footage of him that I can find from the last five or so years. It is hard to track down exactly what he has been up to, but I can at least confirm that he is skating and running City Stars, even though the brand is much smaller than it’s early 2000's heyday.
Rune has always had one of my favorite styles in skateboarding. One of the most progressive vert skaters of his era, he is in a comfortable second act of his career skating massive concrete skateparks in his native Denmark and releasing the occasional video part:
Formerly a staple on the competitive scene, Rune has taken a step back from the grind of competition and generally only competes in the Skateboard Park event at the X-Games. Glifberg is expected to have at least some footage in the new Volcom video, Holy Stokes.
Koston is one of the most naturally talented people to ever step on a skateboard. If Rodney Mullen invented modern street skateboarding, Eric Koston perfected it. In the early 2000's he was probably the best, most consistent street pro and also one of the most marketable.
Just this year, he appeared in Nike SB Chronicles, Vol. 3. Even at 40, he still has it:
Koston left his board sponsor of over two decades, Girl, earlier this year, along with his friend Guy Mariano. As of this writing, Koston hasn’t landed with a new skateboard company, but rumor has it that he and Mariano are working on a new venture together. The name “Koston” still holds massive weight in the skateboard world, so I suspect he will be just fine.
Bucky is a fixture at vert skateboard competitions around the world even at 43 years of age. In 2013, ESPN hosted four X-Games events across the globe, and Lasek won gold in all four of his appearances on the vert ramp.
Bucky has also pursued his passion for rallycross racing in the back half of his skateboard career. Following him on Instagram, you are just as likely to see him geeking out over cars as you are seeing him skate his massive personal backyard bowl, which he calls “LasekLand”:
Rodney Mullen almost single handedly invented modern skateboarding. The ollie, kickflip, heelflip, 360 flip, and impossible are just some of the tricks created by Mullen, so by the time THPS2 rolled around his legacy was set. But if anyone had a huge popularity boost from the games, it was Mullen, whose unique, unorthodox style earned him a massive following. Even now, no one skates like Rodney Mullen:
In recent years, Rodney has rarely appeared in skate media due to his reclusive nature, but is still running his skateboard brand, Almost, with fellow skate magician Daewon Song.
The 49 year-old Mullen has struggled with ankle injuries throughout his career, but even today, he is doing what tricks other skaters dream of. Every so often, we get to see a few of them. One of the most intelligent people to ever step on a board, he gave one of the best TED Talks about the joy of innovation a couple of years ago. It is highly recommended, even if you aren’t that interested in skateboarding.
Chad Muska was a rock star during the era of the Tony Hawk games. Wildly popular because of his unique style both on the board and off, Muska was a huge money maker for his sponsors.
In the mid 2000's Muska’s brand Shorty’s went down hill and he switched over to riding for Element Skateboards. In recent years, Muska has been involved in the world’s of art, music, and fashion. His main contribution to skateboarding over the past five years has been his heavy involvement with the shoe brand Supra.
Muska’s Instagram is a pretty cool follow, mostly consisting of his current art projects with a little bit of skateboarding mixed in.
Shortly after the release of THPS2, Reynolds left Birdhouse to create his own brand, Baker skateboards. Baker was notorious for its hard partying image in the early 2000's, which made the brand incredibly successful, for better or worse. In 2016, Baker is still one of the most popular brands in skateboarding with arguably the most talented team of sponsored pros.
Even though Baker still has some really wild guys riding for them still, Reynolds has been clean for over a decade. In 2014 interview, Reynolds said:
I feel like Baker, Pissdrunx and our whole crowd, might have done some damage, and I’d like to try and repair that as much as I possibly can. As much as I can do to steer a kid away from drinking and drugs and that whole lifestyle. I feel like that’s a good job for me. I want to keep skateboarding and keep it unique, small and fun.
Reynolds still skates and can still be counted on to launch his signature frontside flip over and down any gap in his path. In the 16 years since THPS2's release, Reynolds has solidified himself as one of the most important figures in skateboarding history, and is still going strong.
Fearless, tenacious, and innovative, Geoff Rowley is probably my personal favorite skateboarder from this group of legends. For years, the Englishman was associated with Flip Skateboards, a brand he was heavily responsible for creating in the early 90's. Late last year, he left Flip, saying he wanted to pursue a new chapter in his career. Rumors point to him joining the company Fucking Awesome with reigning Thrasher Magazine Skater of the Year (an honor Rowley himself won in 2000) Anthony Van Engelen, but nothing has been confirmed.
Rowley’s go for broke style has amassed him a laundry list of injuries, but he is still going strong. The last video he made an appearance in was Vans’ Propeller.
Elissa is the first woman recognized as a professional skateboarder. Elissa broke the ground for modern pros such as Lizzie Armanto and Leticia Bufoni. Elissa was incredibly talented, but drugs and alcohol took a major toll on her career in the mid 2000's.
Her last video appearance was in Zero Skateboards’ Strange World in 2009. She left the company shortly thereafter and hasn’t had a board sponsor since. Steamer is now clean of drugs and was profiled in the Vice skateboard documentary series Epicly Later’d in 2012, which is well worth a watch.
One of the hardest working people in skateboarding, Jamie Thomas was not only one of the best on the board, but a entrepreneur off of it. Throughout the 2000's, his companies Zero Skateboards and Fallen Shoes were two of the most recognizable of the era.
In recent years, the changing skate industry has hurt Thomas’ business ventures. Zero still exists, but has struggled mightily and was sold from Thomas’ own distribution company to Dwindle. Fallen wasn’t so lucky, and officially shut its doors just this week.
Even though things have been a bit rough for Jamie in business, the skateboarding has never been better. He is shredding into his 40's and producing jaw dropping moves such as this impossible 50-50 from a couple years back: