The most famous players in New York Yankees history are essentially a list of the most iconic figures in all of American sports: Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, which makes the fact that a player whose name lives among the legends in Yankees lore is retiring all the more significant. And to help say goodbye to Derek Jeter, the next Yankee to whose number will surely be retired by the Bronx Bombers, Nike has released an ad in which basically the entire city of New York tips their caps to #2.
Built around the tagline “RE2PECT,” the 90-second spot features appearances by everyone from Spike Lee and Rudy Giuliani, to Michael Jordan, Jay Z, and Tiger Woods--as well as countless less-famous New Yorkers on the street, on the line in a busy restaurant, in the bar, on the playground, in the fire engine, or--with their faces obscured--in the locker room at the rival Mets’ Citi Field. Even a handful of Red Sox offer a grudging doffing of their caps in tribute to the 14-time All Star whose 20 seasons with the Yanks were defined by class and professionalism. Jay Z may have boasted that he “made the Yankees hat more famous than a Yankee can,” but if any modern-era player came close to matching the widespread appeal of one of the team’s many, many famous fans, it’s Derek Jeter--and a simple tip of the cap is perhaps the most fitting way to pay tribute to the above-the-fray class of the Future Hall of Famer.