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nike 50th anniversary, serena williams building, nike ispa
via Nike

Nike's new Serena Williams building and ISPA shoes.

Nike will celebrate its 50th anniversary in May 2022 and its first five decades have been fueled by a desire for innovation that has changed the world’s expectations for athletes and the gear they use to excel.

After Nike’s first fifty years, there’s no doubt the company has remained true to its mission statement: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

The company’s commitment to innovation is evidenced by three developments that highlight its commitment to sustainability, circular economy and equity—the ISPA line, Serena Williams building and new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.


via Nike

Nike has maintained its standing as a global leader in sustainable design by taking the responsibility to innovate. "To protect the planet, we don’t wait for solutions, we create them," Nike says on its website. This commitment has led the company to create its ISPA line of shoes—the first created to be taken apart.

ISPA stands for Improvise; Scavenge; Protect; Adapt and this spring the first two shoes from the line will be released. The shoes are made of three interlocking modules that can be disassembled. When the shoe has reached the end of its life, the modules can be dropped off at a Nike store to be recycled.

The shoe is a direct result of the company’s dedication to circular thinking.

“Circular thinking is all about making our world a better place by designing with the end in mind. It is looking at our product in a very holistic way. How do we source our materials? How is our product made? How do our consumers use it? How do we afford them experiences to extend the longevity of the product? Then, how is our product returned? And ultimately, how do we reimagine it? To me, that’s circular thinking. It’s forever new,” Liz Rodgers, Nike's VP of Sustainable Product, said in a statement.

“The future of circularity means no virgin material is used. It means that nothing is wasted, that we truly create an end-to-end regenerative system,” she added.

Nike is laying the groundwork for the future of sport with the unveiling of its new Serena Williams building at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The one-million-square-foot building is the size of three Portland city blocks and has 140 full-sized tennis courts. One of the courts was named the East Compton Hills Country Club Tennis Court after the tongue-in-cheek name the Williams family gave to a community court in Compton.

The building’s 200,000 square feet of lab space allows Nike to develop new ideas and is home to design, merchandise and consumer insight teams.

via Nike

“The whole building takes your breath away. Every element, everywhere you go, is an opportunity to be inspired. I hope this building encourages people to bring out the best of themselves and to dream bigger than they thought possible,” Serena Williams said in a statement.

“For me, Nike is the ultimate place to innovate and be a designer. To know this building will be the home of Nike’s product design and Consumer Creation teams is incredibly surreal. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve been a part of,” she added.

The building was designed with the same commitment to sustainability that brought forth the ISPA line. It’s LEED Platinum-certified and was designed for maximum energy and resource efficiency with a focus on material and water use, indoor environmental air quality, and wetland improvements.

The building was created with its immediate environment in mind. Stormwater runoff from the building has been reduced to protect the Pacific Northwest salmon watersheds.

Nike’s dedication to DEI is evident inside the building from its mothers’ rooms to support new and nurturing moms to its wellness rooms to promote mental health and provide space for meditation, prayer, and general well-being. Inclusive all-gender bathrooms are available throughout the building as well.

Nike put its commitment to DEI in stone by setting the 2025 goal of having women represent 50% of its global workforce and 45% of those at the VIP level and above. It’s also working toward a 30% representation of racial and ethnic minorities at Director level and above in the U.S.

This dedication is also evident in how Nike works with a variety of communities to use the power of sport to help elevate athletes’ voices, through a combination of grants, programming, products and services.

BeTrue honors athletes who uplift the LGBTQIA+ community and use their voices for change. BHM honors the Black community by investing in and creating platforms for athletes to raise their voices. It helps Native American and Indigenous communities get moving through the N7 program that encourages healthier, more active lives.

For the past fifty years, Nike’s innovations have helped athletes on all levels achieve their potential on courts, fields, pitches, diamonds, and courses. It’s pushed boundaries in culture, design, and sustainability to create a future without limits. Today, Nike’s latest advancements in circular thinking, sustainability and inclusivity are proof that there's sure to be even more human potential unlocked in the coming decades.


Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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