THE NEW YORKER: In July of 1988, Nike released the first of its ads under the slogan “Just Do It.” The spot featured Walt Stack, an eighty-year-old man, ebulliently trotting across the Golden Gate Bridge as part of his daily seventeen-mile run. “People ask me how I keep my teeth from chattering in the wintertime,” Stack says. “I leave them in my locker.” The same year, Nike released the first of a series of ads that paired the director Spike Lee with Michael Jordan, who was with the Chicago Bulls at the time. The wildly popular Spike-and-Mike ads didn’t fall under the rubric of “Just Do It,” but they were important to the Air Jordan line, which had been launched three years earlier, and went on to become the best-selling athletic shoe of all time. This was in spite of the fact that, two years later, Jordan was widely criticized for declining to endorse Harvey Gantt, an African-American Democrat challenging Jesse Helms, the race-baiting Republican incumbent, in a race for a U.S. Senate seat representing North Carolina, Jordan’s home state. MORE