Before there was Nike, there was Bill
Bowerman, Nike's future co-founder. And
before Bowerman there was Bill Hayward, Knight's first shipment of Tiger shoes The first BRS West retail store was opened
the first track director at the University of arrives in December, 200 pairs in all. in Eugene, Oregon, by future veteran
Oregon. Hayward led Oregon athletics employee Geoff Hollister and future
from 1904 to 1947. Named in his honor, company president Bob Woodell.
the University's historic track & field venue
has hosted three Olympic Trials, and a
variety of National, NCAA, and Masters
championships. A claim could be made
that Hayward Field was Nike's unofficial 1964
Knight and Bowerman join together in the
new enterprise, each contributing $500 to
the partnership. Knight works for an
accounting firm and in his spare time Knight resigns his position as Assistant
distributes the shoes from his father's Professor of Business Administration at
basement, and out of the back of his car at Portland State University to devote himself
local and regional track meets. Runners full time to the company.
don BRS shoes -- many prototypes
Bill Bowerman - Olympian, Olympic coach,
designed by Bowerman -- and provide
innovator and inspirational mentor - took
feedback to the company on concepts for
over as head track coach at the University
future footwear development.
of Oregon in 1948, a job he held until
Bowerman begins experimenting with
rubber spikes by pouring a liquid rubber
compound into his wife's waffle iron,
Jeff Johnson, a former track competitor of creating a sole that forever changes the
Phil Knight at Stanford, agrees to work on design of running shoes.
The future co-founders of Nike meet at
the University of Oregon in Eugene, commission as BRS' first full-time
America's running citadel. Bill Bowerman, employee.
already one of the top U.S. track coaches,
and Phil Knight, a middle distance runner
on Bowerman's track team, begin their
For a fee of $35, the Swoosh trademark is
Jeff Johnson opens the first BRS retail created by a graphic design student
outlet in Santa Monica, Calif. named Carolyn Davidson whom Phil
Knight had met at Portland State
Phil Knight's research paper at Stanford
asserts that low-priced, high-performance
well-merchandised exports from Japan
could replace Germany's domination of
the U.S. athletic shoe industry. After
receiving his MBA, Knight takes a world
tour. Stopping in Japan, he contacts the
Onitsuka Tiger company, manufacturers of Knight and Bowerman incorporate BRS,
quality athletic shoes, and convinces it of Inc., an Oregon corporation, as successor
great marketing opportunities for its to their partnership known as Blue Ribbon
product in the U.S. Put on the spot to Sports. BRS, Inc. (doing business as Blue Jeff Johnson, Nike's first employee, makes
appear as though he owns a company, Ribbon Sports) is the exclusive marketer, his most enduring contribution to the
Knight makes up a company name, giving distributor, and seller of Onitsuka Tiger company. While sleeping he dreams of
birth to quot;Blue Ribbon Sports,quot; the running shoes imported from Japan. The Nike, the Greek goddess of victory --
forerunner of Nike. shoes are based on a foam cushion heel giving the company its new name. Nike
wedge design proposed by Bill won out over Knight's idea of calling the
Bowerman. Dec. 26, 1967 company quot;Dimension 6.quot;
Frustrated with the inability to secure loans
at local banks, Knight finds a new method
of creative financing. Through the Bank of Steve Prefontaine dies in a car accident in
Tokyo, a trading company called Nissho Nike introduces the TAILWIND, the first
Eugene, Oregon. At the time of his death,
Iwai introduces BRS to import letters of running shoe with Nike Air, the technologi-
Pre held the American records at every
credit and lays the foundation for future cally advanced, patented Air-Sole
distance from 2,000 to 10,000 meters --
rapid growth. cushioning system.
seven in all. It is a feat never
accomplished before or since. The loss of
America's best runner has an enormous
impact on Nike and the running world.
The first athlete to win an Olympic medal
A distribution dispute leads to litigation wearing Nike shoes is British runner, Steve
At the Olympic Trials, Nike shoes are seen
and an eventual break in business relations Ovett. Though a U.S. boycott of the 1980
in abundance for the first time -- worn by
between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger. Moscow Games denied America's best
young, rising stars in both middle- and
distance runners a chance at glory, it gave
long-distance events.The Eugene-based
Ovett a golden opportunity. Competing
trials signal a promising future for the
in the 800m, Ovett clinched a gold medal
company's promotional activities.
in 1:45.4. For the first time, Nike shoes
graced the highest podium beneath the
BRS launches Nike for athletes competing
at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene. Nike starts the first U.S. track-and-field
training club for elite athletes, calling it
Nike completes an initial public offering of
2,377,000 shares of Class B common
Tennis great John McEnroe signs a deal
American record-holder Steve Prefontaine with the company. Nike recognizes itself in
becomes the first major track athlete to
McEnroe's colorful character and feisty
wear Nike brand shoes. He converts many personality.
of his fellow competitors to the young
BRS, Inc., the subsidiary of Nike, Inc., is
merged into Nike, Inc. Nike, Inc. is the
Frank Rudy, former NASA employee, came
to Nike with an idea which Nike helped
refine to create a better shoe. Together,
Nike and Rudy engineered the first Air-Sole
The WAFFLE TRAINER is introduced units: durable bags filled with pressurized
featuring Coach Bowerman's famous gas that compress under impact, then
Waffle outsole. It quickly becomes the spring back. The result is Nike Air Nike opens a footwear distribution center
best-selling training shoe in the country. cushioning, the single greatest footwear in Memphis, Tennessee.
cushioning innovation ever developed.
Nike-shod Joan Benoit shatters the
women's world marathon record just four
months before 23 Nike-supported athletes Just Do It ad -- It became both universal Every medallist on the USA track and field
capture medals in the inaugural World and intensely personal. It spoke of sports. team at the Barcelona Games wears Nike
Track and Field Championships in Helsinki, It invited dreams. It was a call to action, a apparel. And they will do so for every
Finland. refusal to hear excuses, and a license to be event into the next century as a result of
eccentric, courageous and exceptional. It an exclusive agreement between Nike and
was Nike. This campaign is now The Athletics Congress.
ensconced in the Americana exhibit at the
Smithsonian National Museum -- it truly
became part of America's history.
58 Nike-supported athletes from around
the globe take home 65 medals at the L.A.
Nike introduces an innovative sustainabil-
ity program, Reuse-A-Shoe which collects
athletic shoes, separates and grinds them
up into Nike Grind which is used in the
Nike breaks new ground with the making of athletic courts, tracks and fields.
acquisition of Cole Haan. The American
luxury brand, Cole Haan, makes men's and
women's footwear, accessories and
outerwear focusing on craftsmanship,
Chicago Bulls basketball rookie Michael design innovation and character.
Jordan endorses a Nike line of AIR
JORDAN court shoes and specialized
Cal Ripken breaks Lou Gehrig's record
streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.
The doors open to the Nike World
Campus located in Beaverton, Oregon.
Revenues top the landmark billion-dollar The Campus sits on 74 acres and offers
mark. Nike begins producing apparel 570,000 square feet of breathtaking work
collections, beginning with John McEnroe space throughout seven buildings, each
for tennis, followed by Michael Jordan for named after a special athlete. Nike enters the hockey arena with the
basketball. acquisition of Canstar Sports Inc. which
includes Bauer, and introduces its first
skate, Air Eccel Elite. All Canstar brands
were later consolidated under the Bauer
brand name (1998).
The Air Max shoe, giving athletes their first
The first NikeTown opens in Portland,
look at Nike-AIR cushioning, is introduced
Oregon. The store invents pure sports
by the controversial quot;Revolutionquot; ad
retail with 23,095 sq. ft. of athlete-driven
In November 1996, NIKETOWN New York
opens its 85,000 sq. ft. of innovative retail
design and sports heritage.
Cross-Training emerges as the natural
evolution of the fitness revolution, led by
the Air Cross Trainer High shoe --
cushioned enough for court sports and
Michael Jordan leads the Chicago Bulls to Carl Lewis, Gail Devers and the golden-
their first NBA Championship. spiked Michael Johnson win gold in the
Tiger Woods wins his first Masters by an
unprecedented 12 strokes, becomes Nike Golf sales surge after Tiger Woods Nike celebrates 30th anniversary by
Augusta's youngest champion and switches to Nike Precision Tour Accuracy restoring nearly 90 Portland Parks &
officially begins his reign over golf. golf balls and wins three majors during the Recreation outdoor basketball courts.
NikeGO launches - nationwide community
program to increase physical activity in
Phil Knight formally commits Nike to strict Nike designs uniforms for over 2,000 American youth.
standards for manufacturing facilities used athletes at the Sydney Games for 25 sports.
by Nike, including: minimum age; air The Games give Nike the perfect
quality; mandatory education programs; opportunity to introduce high-performance,
expansion of microloan program; factory innovative products to the world, including
monitoring; and enhanced transparency of revealing the lightest track spike ever made,
Nike's corporate responsibility practices. the aerodynamic and thermo-regulatory
Swift Suit, the recyclable Marathon Singlet
and a new standard in responsive
cushioning systems called Nike Shox.
Soccer fans worldwide embrace the “Secret
Tournament” campaign, which features
three-on-three contests between the world's
elite soccer players in a “secret tournament”
on an ocean tanker offshore; millions
participate on the integrated web site.
Bauer Nike Hockey is formed. Former
Canstar brands are consolidated under the
Bauer brand name.
Following the tragedy of September 11,
Nike remembers the victims and families
touched by this event and honors
America's firefighters by running. Some
265 employee runners participate in a
7-week fundraiser, Run Across America, Nike is again named “advertiser of the
starting in Astoria, OR stopping at 44 year” by the Cannes Advertising Festival,
firehouses along the way and ending in
the first two-time recipient in the
New York City. prestigious award's 50-year history.
Lance Armstrong wins his first Tour de
France. The Nike athlete and cancer
survivor made world headlines in Paris on
July 25, 1999, with one of the most
stunning comebacks ever in the history of
Speedskaters wearing Nike Swift Skin suits Lance Armstrong wins his fifth consecutive
set 8 world records and earn gold medals Tour de France.
at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.
exceed U.S. sales
Nike mourns the passing of its co-founder,
Bill Bowerman in December.
For the first time in Nike’s History,
Nike acquires premium teen lifestyle brand International sales exceed U.S. sales.
Converse Inc. joins the growing Nike
In August, Nike created the Exeter Brands
Group, a wholly owned subsidiary,
dedicated to building athletic footwear
and apparel brands for the value retail
Nike Acquired Official Starter Properties LLC
and Official Starter LLC which are the sole
owners and licensors of the Starter, Team
Starter and Asphalt brand names as well as
master licensee of the Shaq and Dunkman
brands, a line of athletic apparel, footwear
and accessory products for the value retail
Nike announced the appointment of William
D. Perez as President, Chief Executive Officer,
and Director effective December 28, 2004.
Mr. Perez succeeds Nike, Inc. co-founder,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Philip
H. Knight. Mr. Perez, 57, had been President
and Chief Executive Officer of S.C. Johnson &
Son, Inc. since 1996 wrapping up his 34-year
career with the company.