How Nike, Tinker Hatfield revolutionized uniforms in sports starting at Oregon

Chicagoans have an affinity toward Nike unlike any city and brand found elsewhere. A lot of that stems from Michael Jordan's affiliation.

The Jordan Brand was born in Chicago. The Magnificent Mile hosts a massive Nike store and a Jordan brand store was opened on State Street, that great street.

While Nike has changed the shoe game forever, Nike worked with Oregon to revolutionize college football uniforms, and eventually, all uniforms.


It all started with Oregon alum and Nike founder Phil Knight's desire to help his alma mater contend for national championships.

The lesser-known common thread is Tinker Hatfield, the man behind a lot of the most famous Air Jordan shoes.

Hatfield also played a big role in transforming Oregon's look.

"I'd worked on branding around tennis and certainly basketball with Michael Jordan, tennis with Andre Agassi. So, this was an opportunity to take what I'd been doing and transfer it over and help the University of Oregon," Hatfield told NBC Sports' Sports Uncovered podcast.

Prior to the redesign, Oregon was using a standard collegiate logo with a Disney character as its mascot.

"First of all, we should not have an interlocking UO that is often confused with the University of Oklahoma," Hatfield said. "One of the most important ideas that I had that I did bring back to Phil was that we needed to own the ‘O.' "

Hatfield's design team shaped the O to match Autzen Stadium on the perimiter and the inner circle to match Haward Field, the track on which Steve Prefontaine ran. They changed greens to reflect a mallard duck and took it to Knight.

Head coach Mike Bellotti got involved with the rest of the uniforms, re-positioning the wings to go back instead of forward.

"Normally he's pretty stoic about new ideas, new designs," Hatfield said of Knight. "Literally, though, when he saw this helmet in this shifting color he just freaked out."

And from there, sports was never the same.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

How Nike, Tinker Hatfield revolutionized uniforms in sports starting at Oregon originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

What to Read Next