A Look Back: The Story Behind Andre Agassi’s Iconic ‘A’ Logo

A Look Back: The Story Behind Andre Agassi’s Iconic ‘A’ Logo

What’s your favorite Nike logo of all time? The Swoosh and Jumpman logos are obviously number one and two, but after that there are plenty more up for debate.  

For me, the Andre Agassi ‘A’ logo ranks in the top five greatest Nike logos of all time. Agassi was my favorite tennis player growing up in the ‘90s, and I wore several of his sneakers, shorts, and tees while playing varsity tennis in high school. I stared at that logo for years and always felt it was a work of art.

I’ve been following legendary Nike designer Tom Andrich for a while on Instagram, and recently learned he was the one who designed the ‘A’ logo. I figured I had to see if he’d be willing to share the story behind the logo and how it came about.  

Featured on models like the Air Zoom Challenge 1 and 2, the Air Zoom Ablaze, the Air Zoom Pounce, Air Assailant, and tons of Dri-F.I.T. shirts, shorts and hats, the Agassi line in the mid to late ‘90s was edgy, fashion-forward, and functional for those who wanted to stand out on the tennis court. Here’s what Andrich had to say about how the logo was created:

Drew Hammell Andrew Agassi Hat Logo

DH: Can you tell us when you first started at Nike and what your first role was?

 

TA: I graduated from Oregon State University in the summer of ’83, moved to Portland in January of ’84, and was hired by Nike in February. I was hired to be an in-house graphic designer for apparel. I was 23 years old. The apparel design team was very small, so in that first year everybody had several roles; a lot of screen print production work, presentation work, catalog work, and some graphic design apparel projects. It was pretty entry level graphic design work with a handful of meaningful projects here and there.

 

DH: The Agassi ‘A’ logo is one of my all-time favorites – what do you remember about coming up with that design?

 

TA: Thank you. It is also one of my favorites. The logo, and how it came about, is something that I remember vividly. But the actual product around that time, not so much. After working on tennis from ’85-95, I was transitioning to another assignment within Nike and moved to Hong Kong in July ’95. In fact, I never had a hand in the implementation of the logo on the actual apparel from that point on.  

Andre had won the Oz (Australian) Open in January of that year. He had also remade his physical appearance by cutting the iconic hair. Because of this makeover, there was heightened interest in this project internally at Nike. The two highest creative leads within Nike had a difference of opinion around the logo style and what aesthetic would best represent Andre. One director thought that Andre was still a rock-n-roll rebel at heart, while the other thought he was a rejuvenated man and that the logo should look sleek and ultramodern. At the beginning of the project, I was into the abstract paintings of Franz Kline. I just thought the idea behind that art, being fluid and dynamic, matched with the persona of Andre, himself. So I was leaning towards this bold, more abstract concept. I worked on both directions. We presented to Andre (and Brooke Shields), during the Lipton Championships, late at night in Key Biscayne in March ’95. He picked the rebel direction. I came back and worked on a new version. I drew the new ‘A’ on a paper towel to get that bleeding effect. It was intended to be somewhat abstract but, at the same time, be recognizable as a letter form.

Drew Hammell Andrew Agassi Logo Tennis Apparel

DH: How often were you able to meet with Andre? What did he think of the logo and his footwear/apparel?

 

TA: For the logo project, I only met with him the one time when we presented to him in Key Biscayne. He gave great feedback, I went back to Beaverton, designed the revised version, and then I moved on. I believe the tennis apparel product designer, Devon Burt, presented the final version to him. There were no revisions requested, so I feel he must have been satisfied. When Andre came to campus last year to shoot the 30th Anniversary Promo for Challenge Court, I noticed he was wearing a custom pair of sneakers with the ‘A’ logo and that made me feel pretty good.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Nike Air Assailant

DH: Wilson Smith designed Andre’s sneakers during the mid to late ’90s – what was it like partnering with him?

 

TA: Wilson, of course, was an amazing designer for Nike. He is such a positive and energetic force of a person. Footwear and apparel designers had a mutual respect for each other’s work. There was some ideation at the beginning of the season but the real collaboration was mostly around color. Any graphic placement on footwear was usually done by Wilson himself. The only footwear that I worked on heavily that had a real visual impact, was the Air Tech Challenge IV.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Air Zoom Challenge

DH: What was your all-time favorite project to work on while you were at Nike?

 

TA: I had an almost 37 year career at Nike. I was in apparel the whole time, so there were probably hundreds of projects but not many had the staying power of the early tennis work. My favorite has to be the Challenge Court line from ’90. I just really like the story of the ball logo coming from the ink cap. I like that the whole line looks like a tribute to art from the 80’s/90’s, while still holding up as something modern and unique. It looks like ’Nike’ to me.

 

DH: What are you up to these days?

 

TA: I’m freshly retired from Nike, so that’s a new feeling for me. I still have a passion for sports and intend to keep following my favorites. I paint for a creative outlet. It’s a hobby for now but I’m into it and I did quite a few canvases last year. I’m also a fairly new grandfather and that is very exciting.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Air Zoom Ablaze
Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

Rafael Nadal Completes Career Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal Completes Career Grand Slam

words_Nick Engvall

Rafael Nadal wins US Open, could it mean a return to popularity of tennis sneakers? Although it has taken Rafael Nadal less time to complete tennis’ Career Grand Slam than Roger Federer and Andre Agassi, for the last two weeks it probably seemed like an eternity. The weather over the two-week period at Flushing Meadows threw everything but the kitchen sink to throw off Nadal’s resolve. It started with blistering heat, then switched to unruly wind, and lastly the rains came, pushing back the men’s final a full day and then again mid-match on Monday. However, Nadal’s determination at this year’s U.S. Open was more relentless than New York’s recent weather.

On his path to becoming just the seventh man to win all four majors over the course of his career, Nadal was undeniably on a mission. Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in four sets on Monday afternoon by forcing Djokovic into making mistakes with more power and a faster pace than Djokovic could keep up with. Nadal seemed to falter only once in the entire tournament, where in the second set of the match Nadal made a handful of unforced errors that ended up giving the set to Novak 7-5. For the briefest of moments, it looked like the weather, or something, might have shaken Nadal’s march to the Slam Title that has eluded him for seven years.

Just as quickly, it was back to business for Rafa, who finished off Djokovic over the next two sets to become the first lefty since John McEnroe to do so in 1984. Nadal’s first U.S. Open Title should help to silence the naysayers that have categorized him as unable to play on hard courts, as well. With this U.S. Open Title, Nadal becomes the second youngest player in tennis history to win nine titles. Only Bjorn Borg has reached the feat quicker. Even the man who most people compare Nadal to, Roger Federer, took nine months longer to reach nine titles.

Rafael Nadal wins US Open, could it mean a return to popularity of tennis sneakers? Now that Rafael Nadal’s silenced doubters and joined the list of tennis greats that includes Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t belong. It’s also hard to not think of the footwear lines that have followed the above names over the years.

For Nadal’s ninth Grand Slam title, he decided on a pair of Player Exclusive Hot Lime Nike Courtballistec 2.3s that have the potential to be enshrined in sneaker culture almost as certainly as he will be in tennis culture.

Bright colors and Rafa’s emotional play are reminiscent of John McEnroe and Andre Agassi, and also raise a question: Could a revival of tennis footwear follow?

My fingers are crossed. How about yours?

images via yahoo

Rafael Nadal Completes Career Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal Reigns At Wimbledon

words_Brandon Richard

As dominant as Serena Williams looked in the women’s final on Saturday, Rafael Nadal was all of that and more when he captured his second Wimbledon title in straight sets on Sunday. The Spaniard’s aggressive style and skill was too much to overcome for the 12-seeded Tomas Berdych. Sunday’s win gives Nadal 8 Grand Slam titles, landing him in a sixth place tie with legends such as Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, and Ken Rosewall.

Much like Serena’s performance in the women’s final, Nadal refused to let his serve be broken. On the other hand, he was able to break Berdych four times. The first set was tied 3-3 before Nadal recorded his first break of the match. After taking the 4-3 lead, Nadal never looked back. He went on to quickly win the next two games and jump out to an early 1-0 set advantage.

The second set began with a 10-minute game in which the Czech attempted to break Nadal’s serve. Berdych was able to get 3 break points, but they were all saved by Nadal. Rafael didn’t seem to have the same problems, as he was able to get six points off of Berdych’s second serve, including a successful break. Berdych missed a forehand at 6-5 to hand Nadal a two-set lead, a seemingly insurmountable deficit against the world’s top ranked player.

Though Berdych was able to find success with his serve in the third set, the outcome was till the same. He tried mixing up the angles, speeds, and power levels on his shots – only to have them fly back past him as winners from Nadal. Down 5-4 in the third, Berdych was broken once again to give Nadal a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victor in the final.

Nadal’s 8 Grand Slam victories put him at the half-way-to-Federer mark. For the second time, he’s won the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back. Prior to he and Federer accomplishing this feat the last three years, no player had done it since Bjorn Borg in 1980. Next up for Rafa is the U.S. Open, the Grand Slam event he has never won. That tournament kicks off in late August.

images via Yahoo

Rafael Nadal Completes Career Grand Slam

Serena Williams Wimbledon Champ Again

words_Brandon Richard

What started off as Serena Williams’ tournament to lose turned out to be her tournament to win. The now four-time Wimbledon champion looked overwhelmingly dominant as she rolled over Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-3, 6-2 in Saturday’s final. The win gives Serena 4 Wimbledon titles and 13 Grand Slam titles overall.

As Serena loves to say, her serve does not abandon her at Wimbledon. To drive that point home, the number 1 ranked player in the world didn’t face a break point in the entire match. The same could not be said for Zvonareva. After a very evenly played six games, the two were all square at 3-3. Serena, as expected, held serve to jump back ahead by a game. Then, the first break of the match came when Williams smacked a curling forehand winner down the line to jump ahead 5-3. She wouldn’t look back, as her reliable serve helped her close out the first set in impressive form.

Those guessing that Serena would slow down in the second set guessed wrong. In fact, she played better. The set began with Serena immediate breaking Zvonareva to go up 1-0. The Russian started to unravel when she double-faulted to fall behind 4-1. Three games letter, Serena put away an overhand to seal the deal on another successful Wimbledon run. The reaction of the two finalists mirrored the on-court action. Serena’s reaction was one of great jubilance, while Zvaonareva sat in her chair and wiped away tears.

By securing her 13th Grand Slam title, Serena moved past the legendary Billie Jean King on the all-time women’s list. She now stares up at Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, each with 18 titles. Her first crack at number 14 will come at the 129th U.S. Open. The tournament starts on August 30th in New York City. Serena’s last U.S. Open win came in 2008 against Jelena Janković.

Where do you think Serena currently stands on the all-time women’s tennis list? Let us know!

images via Yahoo

Rafael Nadal Completes Career Grand Slam

Nadal, Berdych Set Up Wimbledon Final

words_Brandon Richard

A little under two weeks ago, we pondered whether or not we’d see another Rodger Federer and Rafael Nadal tennis classic in the Wimbledon final. We received our answer when Czech-born Tomas Berdych pulled off a four set stunner against the defending Wimbledon champion. Now, after semi-final wins today by both Nadal and Berdych, we’re left with a Nadal vs. the man who beat Federer showdown for all the glory.

To reach the final, Nadal disposed of 4th ranked Andy Murray, who was making a bid to become the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938. All sets were competitive, with Nadal’s superior skill and athleticism shining through in the end. The first set was even at 4, until Murray hooked a forehand, giving Nadal the lead and a chance to serve it out. The second set went to a tiebreak, and saw Nadal’s resilience help him overcome a 6-5 deficit. The third set started with Murray breaking Nadal’s serve and going up 2-0. Once again, Rafa made adjustments, breaking back in the eighth game and eventually served his way into the final.

Berdych was also able to take care of business in three sets, this time surprising 3rd ranked Novak Djokovic. Berdych is the first Czech to reach the Wimbledon men’s final since Ivan Lendl in 1987. Once again, Berdych played more efficiently than his higher-ranked opponent. His serve was broken just once in 16 games, while he was able to break Djokovic three times. Berdych had 11 aces, 34 winners, and 17 unforced errors. In the third set, Djokovic committed two of his eight double faults to lose serve and give Berdych the chance to serve out the match.

Nadal and Berdych have played 10 times before, Nadal owning a 7-3 advantage. Berdych put his best run against Nadal together in 2005 and 2006, defeating him three straight times. However, Nadal has won the last six meetings, including 14 straight sets. Berdych will need some of his Wimbledon magic to carry over if he’s looking to hold up the trophy as the end of the day. Nadal will be looking for his second Wimbledon title in four straight finals appearances, not including last year’s tournament, which he sat out with an injury. Be sure to see who stands alone when the Wimbledon men’s final gets underway on Sunday.

images via Getty