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Transcript of 1950-1959
Two Men With an Idea
Bill Bowerman was a track and field coach at the University of Oregon. Phil Knight was a student as well as a track runner for Oregon. Both men thought of innovating running shoes in order to provide an advantage to those using them. Knight applied to be a shoe distributor for Tiger Running Shoes from Japan and when he went to Bill, they became partners.
Blue Ribbon Sports
Just on a simple handshake and $500 each, they ordered 300 pairs of Tiger shoes in 1964. Knight sold the shoes from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, while Bowerman ripped shoes apart in order to see how they could be lighter and overall better. BRS became an innovator.
First Employee of BRS
Someone had to manage since both Knight and Bowerman had full-time jobs. That is when Jeff Johnson became the first ever full-time employee of BRS in 1965. Johnson's impact made him an invaluable member of the company; He opened the first BRS retail store in Santa Monica, California.
Birth of Nike
Nike First Ambassador
With a new name, logo, and design Nike needed an athlete to endorse the shoe. Steve Prefontaine was the right athlete for the job. At the time he was a well known college runner and thrilled stands at Oregon's Hayward Field while representing BRS. In 1975 everything stopped when Steve died at age 25. "Pre (Prefontaine) is the soul of Nike" Phil Knight.
Change and Refocus
Nike rolled into the 80's because of Nike Air technology's launch in late 70's. By the end of 1980 Nike became a public traded company, but many of it's 'pioneers' pursued different companies. By mid-80's Nike slipped from it dominant industry leading position, but was revived by an NBA rookie named Michael Jordan in 1985.
In 1987, Nike focused on promoting Air Max, the first Nike footwear to feature visible air bags. In 1988, they created the slogan "Just do it". To finish off in 1989 Nike's TV ad with Bo Jackson and the "Bo Knows" campaign by creating croos-training shoes. Nike regained it position as the industry leader and never fell again.
Johnson wasn't done yet. He created the name "Nike" as well as inventing some of the first shoes in 1971. The famous "Swoosh" was created by a graphic designer student named Carolyn Davidson and debuted in 1972.
The 1990's was time for Nike to go Global. In 1994, Nike signed individual players of Brazil's World Cup Winning team and eventually signed the entire team. In 1996 Nike signed young golfer Eldrick "Tiger" Woods, and in 1997 he won the Masters.