Woke up to a lot of questions .
- Rock, I was with NIKE from about 1996 - 2002. And you're right - there have been many changes in the decade since I was in Beaverton. I've tried to preface my answers to clarify that. If anyone notices information that is outdated or inaccurate, feel free to correct me.
- In regards to my collection: At its peak, I owned about 250 shoes, including 100 - 150 different NBA pro make-ups (player exclusives). For a while I was able to visit a friend in sports marketing and grab most of the surplus shoes in my size at the end of each NBA season (15.5 - 16). Believe it or not, they used to sell leftover player exclusives at the Portland Nike Outlet on MLK and on a card table in the back of the Employee Store for $10 each. It's a little more difficult to get them now. I only collected in my size, so I had a lot of stuff from Pippen, Duncan, Finley, VC, Reef, etc...
- I honestly didn't encounter any "a-holes" on campus, but there was one situation that bothered me. I was called into the office of a category manager and questioned about the player exclusives I was wearing to work. Yikes! I explained the circumstances under which I had acquired the shoes and immediately offered to return them if it was a problem. They didn't make me give them back. It just seemed like they were busting my chops for being a new guy and having what little connections I had at the time. I guess there were more senior employees that were used to getting the hook up first. But I learned that the protocols and processes were different once you were actually on campus.
- I have a few favorite moments. I got to tour Tinker's design studio. I received an unexpected giant shipping carton of TWELVE Jordan player exclusives at one time. I was a volunteer coach for the Special Olympics on campus. I dated an olympic gold medalist and she was taller than me (6'8"). The business and personal conversations with designers, developers, and non-employees like Russ Bengston from SLAM.
- I ended up leaving NIKE because my contract ended and there was a hiring freeze in several categories. If I remember correctly, there was mandatory wait time of six months before you could re-apply for the same position. I eventually returned home to Texas, finished my undergrad, and worked in student services for some local universities and medical schools.