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A look at Some of Nike’s Craziest Promotional Items

The Thread

Blue Ribbon Sports

n the early 1960s, Phil Knight, a former college athlete had discovered the Onitsuka Tiger brand on a trip to Japan. Phil Knight  and his former track and field coach Bill Bowerman founded Blue Ribbon Sports. Initially serving as a distributor for the Japanese shoemaker Onitsuka Tiger, the company began by selling shoes out of the trunk of Knight’s car at track meets. Funny enough Knight’s final paper thesis was actually “Japanese companies are poised to burst into the shoe market

for the company came in 1971 when they decided to rebrand as Nike, inspired by the Greek winged goddess of victory. This shift marked the beginning of a new era, symbolizing not only success on the track but also a triumph in the competitive world of sportswear.


No discussion of Nike’s history would be complete without mentioning the iconic partnership with basketball legend Michael Jordan. In 1984, Nike signed a rookie Jordan to a then-unprecedented endorsement deal, forever changing the landscape of athlete endorsements. The release of the Air Jordan 1 in 1985 not only revolutionized basketball shoe design but also sparked a cultural phenomenon. The distinctive design, coupled with Jordan’s on-court prowess, turned the Air Jordan line into a cultural icon, transcending the world of sports.

Air Max

introduction of the Air Max technology in 1987 marked another milestone. The visible air cushioning not only provided enhanced comfort and performance but also became a defining aesthetic feature across various Nike shoe lines.

Throughout the years, Nike’s growth has been meteoric. The brand expanded its product line to include not only athletic footwear but also apparel and accessories, solidifying its presence in every aspect of an athlete’s life. The “Just Do It” slogan, introduced in 1988, became a rallying cry for those seeking motivation and inspiration in their athletic pursuits.

5 of the coolest Vintage Nike Items we could find

5. Vintage Nike Briefcase

From @rewindingstyles (Instagram): This Briefcase was a gift from Phil Knight to the top executive Nike Employees. It was recently featured in the movie “Air”

4. Vintage Nike First-aid Kit

3. Vintage Jordan duffle – 1985 UNC Colors

@Rewindingstyles on IG

2. Vintage Nike Picnic Set

Employee only Picnic set from the late 1980’s

1. Nike X Heller Vignelli employee gift mug

Written by Sammy Aronoff

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