While trying out for a Nike TV commercial staring LeBron James a stunt man/marital artist Mark Allen Hicks attempted to do a black flip for the camera. It didn’t work and unluckily for him his failed back flip was captured on camera and uploaded to the internet where it spread like wildfire. In Nov 2006 the Viral marketing company, The Viral Factory, collated page impression figures from websites such as YouTube and Google Videos. They determined that this video as of Nov 2006 had been viewed 80 million times. Hicks himself didn’t know of his fame until a friend called and said, “that was so funny! I just saw you on the Jay Leno show!” Hicks was puzzled because he had never been on the Leno show. He quickly checked online and to his horror had discovered that the casting agency had leaked his audition video. While at first he was angry he was able to parlay his new found fame into creating a full length movie called, Afro Ninja: Destiny
The commercial was for Nike’s Lebron James in the Chamber of Fear Series. Mike was reported to have stumbled out of the audition with a bloody nose and no role in the commercial. After mark’s “failed” audition the casting guys proclaimed “no more flips” to the next few stunt men waiting to audition. However, later Mike was able to come back another audition and was booked for the commerical.
National Geographic did a show called Fight Science that explored how the designs and techniques of weaponry can exponentially increase an already fearsome fighter’s impact, control, and range. Mike Hicks was one of the fighting “experts” that show-cased their skills in the show.
While people were trying to track down Afro Ninja in a case of misidentification one Shawn Tanner was fingered as the AfroNinja in the video. Shawn was quick to point that he had nothing to do with the the video and that his flash site www.afro-ninja.com had existed years before the video went viral.