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General Information

Nike, Inc. is a major American supplier of athletic shoes, apparel and sports equipment. The company takes its name from Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, after company designer Jeff Johnson presented the name to founder Phil Knight. Nike markets its products under its own brand as well as Nike Golf, Nike Pro, Air Jordan, Team Starter, and subsidiaries including Bauer, Cole Haan, and Converse. Nike is the largest sportswear supplier in the world.



The Nike "Swoosh"

The "Swoosh" is among the most easily recognized brand symbols in the world.

The Nike "Swoosh" is a design created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University. She met Phil Knight while he was teaching accounting classes and she started doing some freelance work for his company, Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS).

BRSS athletic footwear it was preparing to introduce in 1972. Knight approached Davidson for design ideas, and she agreed to provide them, charging a rate of $2 per hour.

In June 1971, Davidson presented a number of design options to Knight and other BRS executives, and they ultimately selected the mark now known globally as the Swoosh. Davidson submitted a bill for $35 for her work. (In 1983, Knight gave Davidson a gold Swoosh ring and an envelope filled with Nike stock to express his gratitude.)

In June 1972, the first running shoes bearing the "Swoosh" were introduced at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Nike continues to use the brand symbol today.


Common myths regarding the Nike "Swoosh"

Its wing-like shape has frequently led people to believe it is inspired by the wing in the famous statue of Nike, the winged goddess of victory. However, according to Nike's historian, the Swoosh was designed in June 1971, while the name Nike was not adopted by Blue Ribbon Sports until August of that same year.

Originally, the mark was simply referred to as "the stripe." Over time, it began to be called a "Swoosh," but there is no record of a specific date or occasion for its taking on that name. In the 1960s, a Blue Ribbon Sports brochure for Tiger footwear used the term "Swoosh" fibers to describe a shoe, so it is likely that the word was used in the Blue Ribbon Sports lexicon and later became attached to describe the brand.

It's also believed that "Swoosh" came from the sound of a moving athlete, likening it to a whip.

Some claim that the "Swoosh" is actually representative of the wings on the feet of the Greek God Hermes, flipped upside down. It may be a symbolism of speed and grace.


Nike Timeline

The 1960s

  • 1964

    • Nike's predecessor, Blue Ribbon Sports, is incorporated in Oregon.

The 1970s

  • 1971

    • The Swoosh first appears on Nike shoes

    • The first line of Nike footwear is introduced, including the so-called "Moon Shoe" that features a waffle sole, which is distributed to athletes competing in the US Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.

    • Romanian tennis star Ilie Nastase becomes the first athlete to sign an endorsement contract with Blue Ribbon Sports to wear its Nike tennis shoes.

  • 1972

    • American record-holder Steve Prefontaine becomes the first major track athlete to wear Nike shoes.

  • 1975

    • The Waffle Trainer is introduced, quickly becoming the best-selling training shoe in the U.S.

  • 1975

    • Nike print ad with the tag "There is no finish line" is introduced.

  • 1978

    • Tennis 'bad boy' John McEnroe is signed by Nike to an endorsement contract.

  • 1979

    • Nike's Air technology patented by inventor M. Frank Rudy is introduced in the Tailwind running shoe. Gas-filled plastic membranes are inserted into the sole of running shoes to provide cushioning.

The 1980s

  • 1980

    • Nike completes an initial public offering of 2,377,000 shares of Class B common stock on December 2.

  • 1981

    • BRS, Inc. merges into Nike, Inc. on December 31, and the company officially becomes known as Nike, Inc.

  • 1982

    • Dan Wieden and Dave Kennedy start their own advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy, taking with them the Nike account on April 1. In October, Nike airs its first national television ad during the New York Marathon.

  • 1982

    • The Air Force 1 basketball shoe becomes the first Nike court shoe to make use of the Air technology.

  • 1984

    • Nike signs Michael Jordan to an endorsement contract. The first model of his signature shoe, the Air Jordan, originally is banned by the NBA, drawing a tremendous amount of publicity.

  • 1986

    • Corporate revenues surpass $1 billion for the first time.

  • 1987

    • The Nike Air Max shoe is introduced, which for the first time makes visible the Nike air bag. A television ad featuring the Beatles' song "Revolution" is the first - and to date the only - time that a song performed by the Beatles is used in a TV ad.

  • 1988

    • The famous tagline, "Just do it", is introduced.

  • 1989

    • Nike enters the European football market, signing a kit deal with Paris Saint-Germain

    • Bo Jackson appears in Nike's Bo Knows ad campaign to support the launch of its cross-training shoe.

The 1990s

  • 1990

    • The first Niketown store opens in downtown Portland.

    • Nike opens its world headquarters in unincorporated Washington County, just west of Portland, on 74 acres (0.3 km˛) of land.

  • 1993

    • Nike introduces Reuse-A-Shoe, which collects athletic shoes, separates and grinds them up into Nike Grind, used in the making of athletic courts, tracks and fields.

  • 1994

    • Nike wins Advertiser of the Year at the Cannes Advertising Festival.

    • Nike enters the ice hockey market after acquiring Canstar, the parent company of hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer (now known as Nike Bauer). Previously, Nike had only made hockey jerseys, specifically those of the Edmonton Oilers at the height of Wayne Gretzky-mania, but now began to make all equipment.

  • 1995

    • Nike signs long-term partnerships with the Brazilian and United States soccer teams, and moves into English football, signing a kit (uniform/apparel) deal with Arsenal.

  • 1996

    • Nike signs Tiger Woods soon after he gives up his amateur golf status.

    • Nike causes controversy with its advertising campaign during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta which features the slogan, "You Don't Win Silver — You Lose Gold." Nike's use of this slogan draws harsh criticism from many sources, including - not surprisingly - several former Olympic silver and bronze medalists.

    • Niketown Los Angeles opens in Beverly Hills.

  • 1997

    • Nike signs several hockey stars, including Sergei Federov and Jeremy Roenick, to endorsement deals to wear their new line of skates, which are quickly lambasted for the fact that they are mostly white, traditionally the color of women's figure skates. This sartorial quirk, coupled with problems with the soles of the skates, leads Nike to relent and allow Federov to wear Graf-brand skates with a Nike swoosh applied to them. In the future, Nike's hockey skates become simply restyled Bauer products until the two brands are combined in 2005.

  • 1998

    • Phil Knight commits Nike to standards for its affiliated manufacturing facilities, including: minimum age; air quality; education programs; expansion of microloan program; factory monitoring; and enhanced transparency of Nike's corporate social responsibility practices.

  • 1999

    • Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike, dies on Dec. 24 at age 88.


The 2000s

  • 2000

    • Nike Shox cushioning/support system is introduced, initially worn by Vince Carter and others on the US Olympic basketball team.

  • 2002

    • Nike purchases Hurley International, an action sports clothing company, for an undisclosed amount.

    • NikeGO launches, a grassroots initiative to increase physical activity among youths aged 9-15.

    • Nike become the kit sponsor of Manchester United until 2010.

    • Nike SB, Nike's Skateboarding line is introduced.

  • 2003

    • Nike acquires once-bankrupt rival Converse for $305 million on July 9.

    • For the first time in the company's history, international sales exceed USA sales.

    • Nike is again (also in 1994) named "Advertiser of the Year" by the Cannes Advertising Festival.

    • Nike signs NBA player LeBron James with an unprecedented $87 million shoe contract.

  • 2004

    • Phil Knight steps down as CEO and President of Nike, but continues as chairman. Knight is replaced by William D. Perez as CEO of Nike, effective Dec. 28.

    • Nike creates the Exeter Brands Group, a wholly owned subsidiary for athletic footwear and apparel brands for lower price points. Brands include Starter, Team Starter, Asphalt, Shaq, and Dunkman.

    • Annual revenues exceed $ 12.25 billion

  • 2005

    • Nike reports annual revenue for fiscal year 2005 (ending May 31) of $13.74 billion, a 12% increase over the previous fiscal year.

  • 2006

    • Nike enters the cricket market with a 5-year sponsorship of the Indian cricket team for US$43m.

    • CEO William Perez leaves Nike on January 23, 2006. Perez said in the statement that he and Knight "weren't entirely aligned on some aspects of how to best lead the company's long-term growth. It became obvious to me that the long-term interests of the company would be best served by my resignation."

    • Mark Parker replaces Perez as CEO. Parker previously was brand co-president of the company, and joined Nike in 1979.

    • Nike and Apple release the Nike+iPod sports kit, enabling runners to log and monitor their runs via iTunes and the Nike+ website.

    • Nike reports annual revenue for fiscal year 2006 (ending May 31) of $15 billion.

  • 2007

    • Nike introduces the Second Coming, a group of NBA basketball players who best represent the Nike company.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia articles Nike, Inc. and Swoosh.



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