In 1996, Nike were in the midst of launching a new experimental project called Nike Sports Entertainment. Believing that they’re athletes were under-utilised, Nike executives began looking for ways to increase their athletes public appearances. To do this, Nike decided to introduce the world to their very own superhero. Designed by the costume designer who had created the suit for the Batman movie, Swoosh man would wear a futuristic grey costume emblazoned with the Nike logo across a torso of pure muscle. Nike put in a lot of money to convert this idea into reality, paying $125,000 for a single suit, and buying two of them.
Nike-sponsored events were suddenly everywhere. Swoosh’s headline shows featured everything from trampoline-assisted dunks, dance routines in sync with the lighting and fireworks between stunts. Swoosh would march around the court, smacking a gloved hand on a basketball in tune with a thumping beat - all while fans were screaming the roof off. In the summer of 1997 however, a sudden downturn in shoe sales, compounded by the Asian financial crisis, precipitated a wave of cuts within the company and most of the NSE team was let go or reassigned within the company overnight.