One of the benefits of working in the sneaker blogosphere is that if you work hard, post thought-provoking commentary on the kicks game and are lucky enough to meet and talk to the right people, you will be rewarded. It might start with a not-so-insulting comment on a forum where you are actually being complimented on your work and not being spammed with “BUY CONCORDS TEH AWESOME $50” messages. Then the next thing you know, you’re attending a launch party, getting media credentials to press-only events, receiving size 11 shoe boxes in the mail until you finally graduate from it all and start filling out travel forms to hop on a plane to Portland.

Thankfully for me, my penchant for intelligent shoe discourse unbelievably dumb luck landed me a few hundred miles north of Los Angeles a few weeks ago and now here I am putting together a photo essay for the Kicks on Fire audience about my time at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton. Yes, dreams do come true and it ain’t at Disneyland.

Housed in nearly 200 acres of land and the place where a few thousand people call “work” daily, the Nike Campus is where the proverbial magic happens. Like something out a late-90s ESPN “This is Sportscenter” commercial, this is the place you want to be if you want to pass by Tiger Woods’ first four major championship trophies, watch a group of teenagers vying for “The Chance” to be the next breakout soccer star at Ronaldo Field, find great rates on spa sessions at the Bo Jackson Building and stare at Lake Nike’s ducks all within a span of 30 minutes.

Make no mistake, business does take place here. Nike would not be in the position that it is today if the work environment was frenetic as its commercials, but when the motto of the company is “[I]f you have a body, then you are an athlete,” you begin to understand what exactly it is they are trying to achieve. Well, that and why they felt compelled to drop the prices on their spa sessions during the summer months.

Read on to begin the photo essay…