You mention skateboarding to somebody, anybody, who doesn't skate and the one name they'll be able to conjure up that relates to the sport is Tony Hawk. The legendary skater has a string of successful video games to his name, along with a career that has spanned decades.
In this video he looks at the issue of selling out and the criticisms levelled at him that he's damaged skateboarding by partnering with corporations.
He claims it's been good for the sport and brought it attention and helped it gain popularity—plus it still retains it underground roots, just search for skate vids on YouTube and you'll see kids making skate films in a raw, unconventional fashion.
And, in the end, whatever mud is slung at him, Hawk remains a hero to many and brought a lot of people into the sport, pros and amateurs alike. So cut him some goddamn slack.
From the YouTube page:
If there's anyone who's an expert on corporate sponsorship, it's Tony Hawk. As skateboarding's beloved poster child since the 80s, Tony has starred in tons of movies and TV shows, put out the most successful skate video games of all time, and brought more public awareness to skateboarding than any other person who's touched a board.
He's endorsed McDonalds, Club Med, Bagel Bites, Sony, Kohls, and countless other mega companies. Needless to say, among pioneering a million other things in skateboarding, Tony Hawk can be attributed with bridging the gap between skating and the mainstream. And while there's a constant desire to "keep it core" in our culture, the Birdman breaks down the concept of "selling out" and how corporations and skateboarders can co-exist.
And if you want to see the master in action, check out this video from last year.