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Nike, Inc., was founded January of 1964, as Blue Ribbon Sports by University of Oregon track athlete Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman. During the ’80s, Nike continued to build momentum by successfully launching Nike Air technology in the Tailwind running shoe, creating the first visible Air Unit in the Air Max shoe and designing a signature shoe for Michael Jordan, an NBA rookie at the time. Now, Nike is known for iconic products like the Air Force 1, Air Max 90 and signature shoes like the Air Jordan (now a sub-brand of Nike) and LeBron.
Bill Bowerman was adamant in his belief that anyone with a body was an athlete, and as the University of Oregon track and field coach, he knew how to take athletes from good to great. So when former track team member Phil Knight approached him about selling athletic gear, he agreed. Blue Ribbon Sports opened in '64, and Bowerman began to dismantle the shoes they sold to create a better sneaker. He used his wife's waffle iron to develop the waffle tread rubber sole, giving athletes more grip on the track. With the help of Jeff Johnson, who attended Stanford with Knight, Bowerman and Knight developed Nike as a brand and adopted the iconic Swoosh.
Nike rapidly became one of the top athletic footwear brands in the U.S. with sneaker technology like Nike Air, which added lightweight cushioning with an air pocket in the heel of the Tailwind model. Their first national television ad aired during the 1982 New York Marathon, and two years later they signed Michael Jordan to what would become one of the most important endorsement contracts in history. As running became popular, Nike was there with the Nike Air Max, the first visible Air-Sole unit, and a new tag line - Just Do It - to inspire others to get up and go. With Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson behind them, Nike became an industry leader.
The Swoosh and its sponsored athletes continue the story Bowerman and Knight started telling when they first started selling shoes from the back of their cars. It's a story of victory despite circumstances and innovation over run-of-the-mill. Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant represent the powerful passion that drives each new Nike product today, and you add fuel to that fire every time you lace up for a run or take to the court.
© CityGear.com 2016