Today the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is kicking off with 68 collegiate teams competing around the US. As one of the leaders in sports apparel and footwear, Nike has had an impact on the tournament for years. In fact, this year Nike and Jordan Brand have outfitted 52 of the men's teams competing.
The Georgetown Hoyas won the tournament in 1984 collectively laced in the Nike Terminator.
In 1997, the University of Arizona Wildcats won the tournament with Mike Bibby running the floor in the Foamposite One. Bibby recounts the shoe's place in the team's journey...
“Nike told us they had a shoe that we could wear for the tournament that no one in college had worn yet. I knew some NBA guys would wear them eventually, so I was honored to have that opportunity.”
Back at UNC, a young Michael Jordan played in the Converse Pro Leather when the team won the tournament in 1982, which a few years back was acquired by Nike.
This year, Nike is fitting its teams in the Nike Zoom Hyper Disruptor.
Check out the Nike kicks, designs, gear and ads created for the NCAA Tournament over the years
In 2000, fans were invited to a little town called “Bracketville.” Marking one of the most comprehensive and immersive integrated Nike advertising efforts-to-date across TV, print and web, the campaign included an interactive site for consumers. This irreverent connection to the game immersed fans in an annual moment as they followed their teams, suddenly finding themselves as figurative citizens of the population.
The idea was to encapsulate the elements beyond the obvious on-court drama. Nike, working with Wieden + Kennedy, looked to create a platform bringing the full cultural moment to life – fans, mascots, everything else.
Prominent basketball figures such as Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, seen enjoying game film with his wife at the town movie theater, resided in the fictional basketball town along with other special guests from the coaching ranks.
And then there was the poignant yet simple town motto: “Stay as long as you can” — a play on a classic small town salutation and humorously spun reminder of the inevitable exit sign that awaited most visitors.