The Original Nike Principles from Rob Strasser in 1977
Rob Strasser is best known as the right-hand man of Phil Knight, Nike’s founder. Strasser is credited with leading Nike out of a bit of a slump in the mid-80’s by introducing the Air Jordan shoe line, arguably the most iconic foot apparel ever sold. As I did my homework on this Nike Exec, I came across this fascinating write-up about him and you don’t have to be a sports junkie to love (but if you are one, buckle up). It chronicles the exchange between Strasser and two other industry insiders in 1984, one who happened to be the sports agent representing college phenom Michael Jordan. The agent (David Falk), while the three men negotiated potential monetized fandom, offered up “Air Jordan” as the branding to the future multi-million-dollar apparel question:
“The moment I said it…Moore (Nike designer) was sketching in this pad that he carried everywhere. On the flight back to Portland, Moore asked a flight attendant for a set of wings, the kind airlines give kids. That little pin became the inspiration for a logo featuring the words ‘Air Jordan’ arced over a basketball, set between two wings in flight.”
Strasser, Nike’s unofficial chief dealmaker, was by all accounts a bit of a wild card, akin to the most famous movie quote box of chocolates. Some seven years before the Washington DC ‘Jordan’ negotiation, Strasser penned what came to be known as the Original Nike Principles. A Jerry Maguire manifesto if you will twenty years before the blockbuster hit.
While the memo lacks any “thou shall not” commandments, it leans that way in conjecture. I tried to work my way through the ten bullets and relate them to public education. I immediately nixed #4, #6, and #10, and largely dismissed #9. I worry about #7 given what I have observed and knowing how counter to productive that bully decree can be. I’m on board with #1 and #5, but struggle with #3. #8 feels a bit of low hanging fruit strategy which always makes for easy head nods so I’m going to pass on it as well. And then we’re left with #2. There is a reason why you should avoid quicksand and debating #2 likely would provide the fodder for gimmick commentary. But if you do your homework and respect the science, it is impossible for a human to sink entirely into quicksand. You might get to about waist deep but that’s it and thus begins the process of climbing out and persevering. It’s at that moment, you just do it.
My wife and I celebrated nothing in particular tonight other than a special meal at an actual restaurant. I spent the first ten minutes on my phone responding to something I needed to respond to – maybe a little too much #7 from above. And then we enjoyed a great meal. I smiled because the table next to us had a little one and they were itching for a family pic which my wife obliged; the couple was celebrating their 9 year anniversary and my wife laughed knowing we were nearly 3x on that comment! And it was fun knowing we were celebrating nothing in particular on a gift card from a family member much like we did on our first date to Jason’s Deli and the Imax Movie Theater (fully gift card covered).
Yesterday the Doomsday Clock moved closer to catastrophe than ever – I’m going to remain on the optimist side of the fence. Maybe we should just ‘Be Like Mike’ and ‘Just Do It’ and I think a modified #5 for educators aligns well with this work:
Assume something. Help people keep their promises. Push yourselves, push others. Stretch the impossible.
What if? Why not?
One thought on “Just Do It”
Re: “Just do It” blog.
Just when I thought it could not get any better you come up with this.
I have to admit, being a sports Nerd, you had me at Nike!.
The blog reinvigorated me about ..the importance of
1. Dating my wife more often and NOT take a call during the date.
2. The importance of believing in your passion, I liked the “Air Jordan” agent story and encounter with the Nike brass.
3. The importance of #5 and the impact it has on our educators.
I really think if we would highlight #5 more often it would make such a positive impact on our work.
Keeping writing….more importantly keep motivating us all through your words.
Waiting for the next entry .
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