When you watch the NCAA Tournament starting this weekend, you won’t help but notice Nike’s influence on the court—from uniforms to sneakers and beyond. The influence of the Swoosh on the collegiate game began to ramp up in 1997, when the Arizona Wildcats won the National Championship in full Nike apparel and footwear. They were the first. Now, 14 of the last 16 men’s NCAA Champs (and an incredible 50 of 64 Final Four teams) have been Nike- or Jordan-sponsored teams. Believe that.
Oh, and women’s squads? How about 9 of the last 13 Champs, and 37 of 52 Final Four teams since 200. In this year’s Men’s Tournament, 52 of the 68 schools are wearing Nike or Jordan (four in footwear only), which includes 12 of the top 16 seeds. In the women’s tournament, 49 of 64 teams are wearing Nike (two in footwear only) including three of the four No. 1 seeds.
From the Foamposites of that original Arizona team to today’s crazy tech advances in uniforms and kicks, Nike’s imprint on the NCAA game is hard to ignore. Above is a selection of key imagery from the last 15 years of Nike college hoops. Trust us, you’ll recognize a lot of it. And for a more detailed look at each of Nike’s sneakers, campaigns and March Madness influence, visit Nike Inc.
Images via Nike