The Nike's Popularity Among Track and Field Athletes

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Not many people know that Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman first started the company as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964. On May 30, 1971, the name was officially changed to Nike. Nike’s first employee Jeff Johnson came up with the name of Nike. Phil Knight was a middle-distance runner from Portland, Oregon. Bill Bowerman was from Portland, Oregon and he coached track and field. Bill wasn’t satisfied with the spikes that were available for Track and Field. “As a result, he became obsessed with shaving ounces off shoes to help runners slash seconds off their times. His quest wound up redefining athletic footwear” (Nike News). Nike today is one of the worlds biggest sports brand companies in the world competing against adidas at the top. Nike is known for its athletic apparel and athletic shoes and sports team apparel. 

Nike makes endorsements with certain sports players and teams in order to increase sales and gain brand recognition. It all started in 1962 when Phil Knight had an idea about bringing in shoes from Japan since there was a lack of variety in running shoes. Phil Knight was born February 24, 1938, in Portland, Oregon. Phil Knight was a distance runner for the University of Oregon, so he had known about what shoes were best for the job. Phil wanted to get Japanese shoes into the US but didn’t know how. On Thanksgiving Day of 1962, he and his classmate from Stanford Carter hopped on a plane and went off to Japan. They both were full both full of joy since it took a lot of work to get the approval and money from there parents. They both explored Japan and visited different things there. Then Phil found a store in the city of Kobe that was owned by Onitsuka Tiger. 

He then scheduled a meeting to meet with Onitsuka’s board members. During the meeting, he was asked by the board member Mr. Miyazaki which company he represented. He made up a name on the spot an called it Blue Ribbon from Portland Oregon. He then got the partnership with them and he wired them 55 dollars. Fast forward on into 1964 when he received the 12 pairs of shoes. He had fallen in love with them to the point where he wanted to keep them. Phil sent two pairs to his former track and field Bill Bowerman who knew how to examine a good running shoe. Bill Bowerman was a track and field coach for the University of Oregon. He was born on February 19, 1911, in Portland, Oregon. He also ran track for the University of Oregon during his collegiate time period. Bill would like to modify runners’ shoes to help them run better. “In the four years I’d run for him at Oregon, Bowerman was constantly sneaking into our lockers and stealing our footwear. He’d spend days tearing them apart, stitching them back up, then handing them back with modifications, that either made us run like deer or bleed” (45 Knight). Bill loved to mess with the runners’ shoes to create better shoes for them. In January of 1964, Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman became business partners of Blue Ribbon Sports. 

Their first investment was of one thousand dollars, but they split it since they were both owners now. They had received 300 pairs of Onitsuka Tiger shoes for three dollars and thirty-three cents. Mr. Miyazaki then sent Phil a letter saying that he could be the main distributor on the west coast for Onitsuka. Phil would go to track meets all over the northwest and would show his inventory to the coaches and the runners. Phil soon enough had people writing him letters on how they can get a pair. People also started showing up to his house trying to purchase a pair of Onitsuka Tigers. People were finding out a bought him from friends or they saw a flyer he had designed about the Japanese shoe. On July 4, 1964, PhilKnight had sold all 300 pairs of shoes he bought.  

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