Former Long Beach athlete featured in Nike ad

Wrestler Isaiah Bird included in commercial with Colin Kaepernick


Long Beach native Isaiah Bird, a 10-year-old wrestler who was born without legs, was featured in Nike’s latest commercial called “Dream Crazy,” which was released on Sept. 5.

Narrated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the commercial shows clips of young athletes around the country pursuing their dreams despite personal challenges, including physical disabilities.

“It’s just amazing — I love it,” said Bird, who recently moved to Florida with his mother, Bernadette Hopton.

He said it felt great to feel support from so many people, and that it was amazing to meet Kaepernick.

“It inspired me,” Bird said, as he recalled taking a flight to the Nike Headquarters in Oregon and meeting other athletes and celebrities.

In the commercial, Kaepernick can be heard saying, “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy — ask if they’re crazy enough.”

“It’s a good message,” Bird said. “It inspires a lot of people to just do it. They can do whatever they want, and the fact that people are doing these things is great. Because some people judge people for who they are. I think people should just go ahead and do stuff like any person.”

Bird is the second athlete to appear in the video, and can be seen sparring with another wrestler. He wrestled for the Long Beach Gladiators, a competitive travel team that is part of the city’s wrestling club for children and teenagers.

“When we went to Nike, they were talking about how to become a better person,” Bird said. “It don’t matter if you don’t have arms, you can do it!”

Kaepernick has become a controversial figure ever since he first knelt during the national anthem at an NFL game in 2016 to protest the widespread issue of police brutality and racial injustice in the United States. Kaepernick stopped playing for the 49ers in 2017 after backlash from fans and NFL officials, and has continued to work as an activist.

“To know that my son is a part of such a powerful message is amazing,” Hopton said.

Miguel Rodriguez, Bird’s former wrestling coach and personal aide, said he’s very proud of him. Bird and Rodriguez were the Long Beach Herald’s People of the Year in 2016.

“I think it’s a great message,” Rodriguez said. “We really don’t support Kaepernick for what he did, but we support the members. When you take politics out, it’s beautiful. Nothing has changed since the minute we met him. He knows what he’s capable of doing. He has been the inspiration that he is, and we believe with the right guidance, he will be a very successful person in the future.”