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In early April, 1993, North Carolina won its third NCAA basketball championship, and second under coach Dean Smith, in its final game wearing Converse-brand sneakers. By then the university was already in talks with Nike, which was already a worldwide athletic shoe and apparel giant, but one that had only recently thought to enter the Nike Air Max 90 Womens Pink business of college sports.That was changing. UNC’s relationship with commercialism Nike Roshe Run Womens was about to change, too. First, though, Smith had to be convinced. His teams had worn Converse shoes throughout his tenure at UNC, which began in 1961, and he had his own, personal deal with Converse. College basketball coaches in those days often operated outside of their schools, and signed with whatever shoe company they wanted.For decades, Smith had been a Converse man, and the Tar Heels a Converse team. UNC’s basketball museum these days includes old Converse sneakers – these massive, chunky-looking things, compared to the sleek, lighter shoes of today. After Smith won his second national championship, here came John Swofford, the UNC athletic director at the time, with the goal of completing a deal with Nike.“Dean, as he was in most things, and this was a great trait, was extremely loyal Nike Air Max 90 Dam Svart to people he was associated with, Nike Air Max 95 Femme starting with his players,” Swofford, the ACC Commissioner since 1997, said recently, recalling his early discussions about Nike with Smith. “And it was not easy for him to consider changing companies, because of his history with Converse.”

Twenty-four years later, UNC’s origin story with Nike seems quaint, a tale from a different time. The Tar Heels are one of Nike’s flagship brands – a brand within a brand. UNC this week, along with Duke, another Nike school, will compete in Portland, Ore., in the 16-team PK 80 – a Nike-sponsored tournament that is serving as an 80th birthday celebration of Phil Knight, the Nike founder.The involvement of sneaker companies such as Nike, adidas and Under Armor in college sports has had a dark side, too. In September, the FBI announced a wide-reaching investigation into shoe-company money and Nike Air Max 90 Femme Bleuallegations of six-Adidas Superstar Mujer Negras figure inducements being paid to high-profile basketball recruits, resulting in charges and indictments.When UNC agreed to its deal with Nike, only seven Division I basketball programs were preparing to wear Nike uniforms, and wear Nike shoes, during the 1993-94 season: UNC, Arizona, Duke, Georgetown, Michigan, Seton Hall and UNLV.Now the swoosh is ubiquitous in college athletics. It is on, literally, just about everything that one can think of involving sports at Nike-sponsored schools. It is on the footballs and basketballs and soccer balls in competition. It is on not only the shoes, but the socks, and the gloves, and every other part of a uniform. It is on the sideline, all over the gear that coaches wear in some sports.At UNC, a Nike-inspired logo – that of the Jumpman, the Michael Jordan silhouette representative of a separate brand that is a Nike subsidiary – is even atop the tunnel the Tar Heels run through at Kenan Stadium. Nike Air Max 95 Femme Along with it are the words “the ceiling is the roof,” Jordan’s verbal gaffe that many UNC supporters, and the football program, have celebrated if only because it came from the man they reverently refer to as “the GOAT.” (greatest of all time).

Indeed, UNC and Nike have become so symbiotic that it is difficult to envision a time when the swoosh wasn’t everywhere. Trying to remember that time is like trying to envision the Tar Heels wearing something other than Carolina blue. Like the basketball team’s mid-court logo depicting the state of North Nike Air Pegasus 89 Femme Carolina, the swoosh just always seems to have been in existence at UNC, omnipresent.There was such a time, however, and that time was any time before the fall of 1993, when UNC’s basketball team wore Nike shoes and Nike uniforms for the first time. Smith, loyal for so long to Converse, eventually relented for two reasons: one, his seniors approved of a switch to Nike. And, second, the deal with Nike would ensure shoes and uniforms for all of UNC’s teams.“The apparel killed Converse,” Smith Adidas Superstar Dam Rosa told reporters at the time, according to an Associated Press story that detailed UNC’s first deal with Nike. “They didn’t have it.”At the time, that had been Swofford’s primary selling point: that an athletic department-wide deal with Nike would benefit not just men’s basketball, but every sport that UNC sponsored. In those days, each team Adidas Superstar Dámské černé had separate apparel deals with separate entities. Even the uniforms within Nike Air Max Tavas Damen specific sports weren’t, well, uniform.The UNC basketball team, for instance, wore Converse sneakers, but its jerseys were made by another company. The women’s soccer team wore Adidas shoes. The football and baseball teams wore jerseys made by different manufacturers. And, in most cases, the university had to pay for all of it. And so a deal with Nike would be cost effective, too: all of a sudden, uniforms would be included.


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