Although Paths diverged between Knight and Bowerman, the two reconnected in 1963. He wrote Bowerman a letter hoping his old coach wanted to be a customer of his new business venture. Coach Bowerman liked Knight’s direction. In January 1964, Bowerman and Knight entered a 50-50 business deal for ownership of their startup, Blue Ribbon Sports.
Later, in 1965, the pair introduced a newly improved Tiger shoe design to the company. The new Tiger Cortez provided runners with the comfort, power, and style they always desired. However, in 1967, Blue Ribbon Sports split from its Japanese supplier.
Shortly following the renowned success of the innovative product, the Onitsuka Tiger allegedly sought a way out of their signed agreement. Tiger claimed that Blue Ribbon Sports secretly sold a version of the Tiger Cortez under the name “Nike.”
The two companies eventually split in 1971. A judge ruled that both companies could sell their version of the Tiger Cortez model. This ruling led to the first and only sneaker to become a best-selling product for two separate shoe companies with the Nike Cortez and the Tiger Corsair, now sold by the modern-day company of Onitsuka Tiger, Asics.