A large part of Jones’s mass appeal is that he strategically invites people into the opaque world of skateboarding with his tricks. “The way I think about it is, ‘How do we bring reality to skateboard?’” Jones explains. “How does the normal mind conceptualize what skateboarding means?” It takes a technician’s expertise to truly understand what pros like Jones are pulling off when they take flight on their boards. “The reason skateboarding hasn’t gotten to the level of a basketball or baseball is that it’s hard to dissect,” Jones says. “If you don’t understand it, it just looks like someone jumping around and being crazy. I try to push the needle forward in the culture.”

Jones knows that, as in the case of Air Jordans, his shoes will succeed because they’re true to him and the iconic moments he creates while wearing them—most of which involve easy-to-understand stunts. Jones’s most famous tricks involve him vaulting over trash cans or cars, like the $5 million Ferrari he ollie’d over in downtown New York. “People can relate to a trash can. We’ve all thrown things in the trash. We’ve all driven a car.”

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Zander Taketomo

The site of Jones’s most legendary feats, however—his version of MJ’s free-throw line—is the 145th Street Station subway gap. His first jump over the chasm, in 2022, was immortalized on a cover of Thrasher. He most recently jumped it for a third time earlier this month, adding a 360 flip to the proceedings. It was a feat most skaters would save for the closing scene of a video; Jones casually posted it to Instagram.

When I ask Jones how he mentally prepares himself for dangerous tricks like the subway gap jumps, which leave no room for error, he pauses a moment before answering. “My process is, ‘Fuck it. It is what it is. However, it’s gonna play out how it’s gonna play out. This is what I want to do, and I’m willing to die behind it. If that’s what was in the stars already, then it was meant to happen.’ But I’m here. We’re talking about it, so…”

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