History Of The Nike Brand
Looking for information about the history of the Nike brand? The Nike brand began as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964. Blue Ribbon Sports was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. Bowerman was a track and field coach at the University of Oregon and Knight was middle-distance runner from Oregon. Blue Ribbon Sports began when Knight convinced Onitsuka Co., a shoe manufacturer in Japan, to allow Knight to sell their Tiger shoes in the United States.
Knight and Bowerman both invested $500 each to purchase 300 pairs of Tiger shoes. Knight actually sold the Tiger shoes out of the back of his Plymouth Valiant. While Knight was selling the Tiger shoes, Bowerman was studying the shoe to determine how he could make the Tiger shoes lighter and better. Knight and Bowerman both had full-time jobs and couldn't devote enough time to Blue Ribbon Sports, which was later known as the mega brand Nike, so they hired their first ever full-time employee, Jeff Johnson.
Jeff Johnson is actually responsible for the development of Nike. When Johnson was hired in 1965, he began to work on marketing materials for Blue Ribbon Sports. Johnson managed to open the first Blue Ribbon Sports retail store in California, as well. While Johnson was working on advancing the Blue Ribbon Sports brand, he was also developing shoes for Knight and Bowerman, and he even came up with the name "Nike" in 1971.
Due to a falling out between Blue Ribbon Sports and Onitsuka Co., Knight and Bowerman decided to take the leap into manufacturing their own shoes. The famous Nike Swoosh was designed by a Portland State University student. Knight and Bowerman debuted the Nike footwear line during the U.S. Track & Field Trials in 1972. The shoes were a bit hit, so Knight and Bowerman decided to advance the Nike brand by hiring Steve Prefontaine to endorse their shoes. Nike became a publicly traded company in 1980, and the rest is history.