It’s a bit ironic that writing a book about a company that has transformed the sports industry could actually become
a life-changing experience for the author. However, such was the case for me when I was writing Nike
as part of ABC-CLIO’s series on Corporations that Changed the World
. It was easy enough to select a company
that is continually reinventing itself with new products and forever leaving an unmistakable mark on not only the sports industry,
but also society in general. As I was gathering comments from top-name sports professionals and conducting research to determine
why Nike has become so legendary, I learned a valuable life lesson. The road to a specific destination is often interrupted
with unexpected twists and turns. The manner by which we navigate these obstacles is a true test of our character and can
prepare us for our next journey.
The high point for me was being able to complete the book at a time when life had blindsided me with a serious health
issue. There were times when I thought I would never be able to meet my deadline, but I kept hearing three words over and
over. “Just do it.” Most of you are familiar with the “Just Do It” advertising campaign that landed
Nike a permanent place in the Smithsonian Institution. However, few of us have probably been able to incorporate the words
into our own lives. As a teenager, I was inspired by every catch phrase that was aimed at making consumers feel invincible.
Yet, I had long since forgotten about the “Just Do It” campaign until I embarked on the Nike project. I certainly
never imagined the phrase would ever serve as a source of motivation for me to write a book about this incredible company.
Sports celebrities like Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings and Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns made my job
easier by being very accommodating in terms of answering my questions. Their responses about how Nike has inspired them were
quite interesting and compelled me to be relentless in telling the story of how the company’s co-founders initiated
their dream with a mere handshake. Of course, I did not realize as I was writing the book that I had something in common with
the founders. In fact, completing the project while in the midst of what could have been a health catastrophe required me
to exercise the same determination they used to propel their company to the top.
Fortunately, I have recovered, but
the road was difficult. My book will forever be a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the indomitable power
of focusing on a goal. Nike co-founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman epitomized this spirit when they refused to let naysayers
thwart their dreams. Their persistence paid off tenfold with the creation of a company that continually outpaces its competitors
by utilizing the most modern technology, developing the most innovative products, creating the most remarkable advertising
campaigns, and endorsing the most well-known, and sometimes controversial, athletes.
It is my hope that the story of
Nike will unleash the necessary passion to help readers pursue their own dreams. Writing the book was a saving grace that
has made me a firm believer in another less popular, but just as profound, Nike catch phrase – “There is no finish
line.” Each project and every experience should be considered stepping stones not to the end, but to our next journey
because there truly is no finish line. There is always one more hurdle to surmount.
--Tracy Carbasho, author of Nike