Greatest sports rivalries: Nike vs. Adidas


Niketown in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

A look at how the Nike vs. Adidas rivalry stacks up.

Nike: 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman in Oregon. (Officially became Nike in 1978.)
Adidas: 1949 by Adolf “Adi” Dassler, who began making shoes in 1920, in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

Nike: Nike, winged Greek goddess of victory.
Adidas: Adi Dassler, drop the “sler.”

Nike: Steve Prefontaine, track star from Oregon, first wore Nike shoes at the 1972 Olympics. Signed an endorsement deal in 1974.
Adidas: Jesse Owens, track star from Alabama, wore the Dassler brothers’ shoes at the 1936 Olympics. The brothers later feuded, and Rudolf Dassler created Puma.

Nike: In 1984, Michael Jordan, an admirer of Adidas, signs a five-year deal with Nike for $500,000 a year plus stock options. Air Jordan is born. Today, Jordan Brand shoes make up 58 percent of all basketball shoes bought in the U.S.
Adidas: Invention, in 1954, of light leather soccer boots with screw-in studs. The boots helped Germany beat Hungary in the ’54 World Cup final and made Adidas internationally recognized as the leader in soccer.

Nike: Old clip of Earl Woods voices over video of Tiger in 2010 post-scandal, looking really solemn on a golf course. “Did you learn anything?” Earl asks.
Tiger doesn’t answer.
Adidas: A monotone Gilbert Arenas—only shown from the ankles down—talks to an off-camera Tracy McGrady about his new Gil Zero kicks, which start to smoke. Arenas says this is because he is actually running really fast, even though he isn’t moving

Nike: “Just do it”
Adidas: “Impossible is nothing”

Nike: Who do you think?
Adidas: Run-DMC

Nike: “Gold Digger” T-shirts, exclusively for women, are released for the 2012 Olympics and seen by some as disrespectful. (Also, sweatshops.)
Adidas: Dropped plans in 2012 for a pair of sneakers with shackle-like cuffs after outcry that the shoes were racist and reminiscent of slavery. (Also, sweatshops.)

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.