Nike was founded in 1964 by University of Oregon track athlete Philip Knight and his coach, Bill Bowerman. The company was originally called Blue Ribbon Sports and began as a distributor for Asics.
In 1966, BRS opened its first retail outlet in Santa Monica, California.
In 1971, the company began selling its own line of footwear. The shoes had a distinctive swoosh on the side. The swoosh was trademarked in 1974.
In 1978, the company became Nike, Inc.
By 1980, the company had attained a 50% share of the athletic shoe market. The company went public.
In 1988, the company acquired Cole Haan. Cole Haan was sold in 2013.
In 1994, Bauer Hockey was acquired.
In 2002, the company acquired the Hurley Surf Company.
In 2003, Converse was acquired, followed by Starter and Umbro in 2004. Umbro was eventually sold in 2012.
In 2004, Phil Knight retired as CEO. He was replaced by William Perez.
In September 2018, Nike chose Colin Kaepernick to be the face of Nike in their advertising campaigns, despite protests and threats of a boycott.
The company has been hit with another boycott from conservatives after its decision to not sell the Betsy Ross flag shoe after Kaepernick suggested that the flag was a symbol of racism since slavery was legal when that flag design was made.
Today, Nike is one of the largest suppliers of athletic footwear and apparel in the world. In 2017, the company had annual revenue of $34.35 billion