Before the unveiling, our Nike tour guide, the bespectacled Scott, led us around Nike’s futuristic campus — so dubbed because founder Phil Knight believes college is the one time in people’s lives when they’re the most open-minded.
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It was little factoids like the one about Mr. Knight that peppered our conversations with Scott as he led us through the Bo Jackson Wellness Center and Gym, the Michael Jordan Building, the Nolan Ryan Building, the Mia Hamm Building — where all the big name designers, like Tinker Hatfield, design the most well-known sneakers ever made — and a multitude of other edifices named after various internationally known athletes within Nike’s star-studded crop.
The highlight was the Michael Jordan Center, naturally, where every iteration (at the time it was put together) of the Air Jordan was lined up side-by-side and splayed under a glass-encased structure in the middle of the lobby. True story, according to Scott, Nike had to buy the sneakers from a Japanese collector who had gotten the till-then complete set autographed on his own dime. Yeah, pretty crazy that Nike had to buy back what they created.
There was also a Nolan Ryan sculpture composed of various bric-a-brac from when he was cleaning out his garage.
And there were a large group of employees (we asked) who were playing pick-up soccer on the Ronaldo field in the middle of the South Campus. Here’s his statue, though he’s put on some weight since it was created from his likeness.
The main event wasn’t until the afternoon.