Blue Ribbon Sports Artifact Collection

Blue Ribbon Sports Artifact Collection


In the early days of Blue Ribbon Sports, Jeff Johnson (Nike Employee #1) created spaces and promoted new comradery for runners coast to coast. 

BRS gave local fledgling running communities a home where they can talk sport, PRs, shoes and just chill.

“Johnson created a beautiful space for runners to hang out and talk,” Knight wrote in Shoe Dog. “He built shelves and filled them with books that every runner should read, many of them first editions from his own library.  In all the world there had never been such a sanctuary for runners, a place that didn’t just sell them shoes but celebrated them and their shoes.”

  • “Let’s make it as welcoming as possible and as low pressure as possible.  They’re welcome to come on in and sit and just read and chat and look up anything they want to look up in a magazine, because I had everything right there.  Books on technique, training things, anything.” – Jeff Johnson

By day, Johnson ran the store. By night, he fulfilled mail order requests. That left little time for him to indulge in one of his favorite hobbies, photography, which is why there are no photographs of the inside of the store that are known to exist.

Other than a handful of brochures and catalogues that Johnson created to spread the word about Tiger shoes and Blue Ribbon Sports, the only item to make its way to the Nike archives is a tiger-striped pillow that used to accent the black Naugahyde couch in the store.

The iconic tiger pillow is the last physical artifact left from the original Pico Blvd location.  It is a symbol of the competitive spirit and passion formed in LA that was taken to Boston, and eventually the world.