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Nike Just Do It Origin: Nonplussed Murderer Facing Execution Inspiration

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Nike's "Just Do It" slogan is as ubiquitous as anything in our culture, but you may be shocked to learn the tagline's odd origin story. In 1976, Portland native Gary Gilmore robbed and murdered two men in Utah and was executed by firing squad the following year. His final words, as some recalled, were "Let's do this"—which, while tragically nonchalant for a man about to die, inspired Wieden+Kennedy's Dan Wieden to come up with the catchphrase. He then flipped Gilmore's final words to the iconic "Just Do It." More surprising is that Nike founder Phil Knight wasn't sold on the idea at first ("We don't need that shit," he reportedly said of using a slogan), but was later convinced by Wieden, and luckily so. The moral here? If you've gotta die by firing squad, you might as well say some really inspirational shit.

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