Swoosh

Swoosh

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Strasser, J. B. | Becklund, Laurie Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991
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IN THIS SUMMARY

Even as a young man, Philip Hampson Knight was never easy to know, but those who made the effort found him to be neither a leader nor a follower-he just was. He attended Oregon University and joined the track team under coach Bill Bowerman. Knight graduated in 1959 and enrolled in the Stanford School of Business to study for his MBA. While at Stanford, Knight conceived the idea for the company that eventually became Nike. Knight enjoyed track and field. Knight knew there was room for improvement in shoes. Adidas shoes, were the best, but they were expensive and difficult to find in the U.S. Knight figured an American distributor could sell track shoes that rivaled Adidas in quality and at a lower price. His idea was to have the Japanese do to German shoes what they had done to German cameras.After graduating, Knight decided on a world tour, ending up in Japan. He discovered that imitation Adidas shoes were already being manufactured by Onitsuka Co., Ltd. Knight convinced Mr. Onitsuka to let him be the distributor in America.In the meantime, Coach Bowerman was making a national name for himself. He taught his runners to view pair of shoes as equipment that could be altered to enhance running and gain more speed. Bowerman became his partner. They gained exclusive rights from Onitsuka. Onitsuka reacted too slowly to product development ideas, had a long history of production problems, and was making moves to take the distributorship away from Knight and company. Knight had no choice but to come up with a new brand: A logo was developed (the now famous oversized check mark called the Swoosh) and the product was named Nike, after the winged goddess of victory from Greek mythology. On June 18, 1971, the first Nike went on sale for $7.95.