Pusher Man

Across his three-decade career, Gino Iannucci has been many things, to many persons: embodiment of detached cool in World’s golden age, skate celebrity roomie, successful hesh-fresh bridger in the gap/rail era, vanguard enlistee for Nike Inc., retail boutique proprietor, graybeard fashion model. Whereas his reputation for yeti-like elusiveness overlooks certain late-period productivity bursts, he remains enswaddled in mystique. In the geometric sum total, Gino Iannucci is the preeminent living example of skateboarding as qualitative versus governance by contest score, ollie height, or NBDs crossed off that cosmic list.

Respective paychecks aside, Gino Iannucci’s subcultural durability has outlasted any number of hot-shoe contest killers, a fact unlost on Nike’s brandwise strategists, who made him one of Nike’s initial signees for the sportswear conglomerate’s final, successful push into board-skating. His enduring presence on the roster helped counterbalance Nike’s pursuit of more obvious Street League contenders and future Olympians. Even if he increasingly leaned upon skatepark one-foots and giving interviews, Nike and other sponsors enjoyed a direct link back to the Gonz backside heelflip, the nollie switch k-grind shove-it out, the Roslyn banks greatest-hits list. As the old Slap message board saw went, “I’d rather watch Gino push.”

The phrase may now face the ultimate test. As Nike and Adidas show signs of culling their skate programs, Gino Iannucci seems to have come to the end of his swoosh-clad run, with recent Adidas-sporting IG story clips earning giddy reposts from the likes of bearded beach kingpin Lucas Puig, and demonstrating Gino Iannucci’s still-considerable clout with bros of a certain age. Almost entirely absent from the FA video output since signing six years ago, he has of late revived his Poets imprint and in recent weeks has posted promotional vids almost entirely reliant on his famed left-foot propulsion technique, in one hopping up a curb and then riding off a sidewalk, in another cruising down a mellow rural road, before the other day including a skatepark pyramid nose manual and pivot fakie.

Could it be that Gino Iannucci is following in the careening, center-line footprints of his East Coast forebear, Mike Vallely? In the 2001 black denim document ‘Label Kills,’ Mike Vallely’s section revolved almost entirely around pushing, an unconventional move later immortalized by Mike Vallely naming his punk band ‘Revolution Mother’*. At a time when professional clout chiefly was measured by stair count, Mike Vallely’s choice to showcase the push and its direct descendants, such as the boneless and no-comply, was to VHS watchers equal parts confounding and inspiring. But similar to the Hot Boys’ 1974 hit ‘Respect My Mind’, it signaled Mike Vallely was thinking bigger and broader, setting a trajectory toward a more malleable ‘personal brand’ and career that would place Mike Vallely variously on hockey rinks, fronting Black Flag, and astride Paul Blart, Mall Cop, in thin air.

Can Poets sink or swim on the strength of Gino Iannucci’s push, or will it require some handrail-assisted Miller flips to ‘seal the deal’? Do you think Gino could take Paul Blart? Could instructional Youtube vids and advanced AI technologies help mechanics-challenged youngsters and career-extending oldsters alike fine-tune their own push techniques? Have the stars already foretold an inescapable destiny in which Gino Iannucci and Mike Vallely join forces on the hockey rink to lead a final showdown against the forces of evil, perhaps with Paul Blart as a stuffed-shirt official?

*Also likely referring to multiple revolutions of the board’s wheels while pushing

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2 Responses to “Pusher Man”

  1. oelsic Says:

    very well said, theres just something about gino

  2. Ha Says:

    I’d rather watch Alex meditate

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