Tinker Hatfield joined Nike as a corporate architect in 1981, and Kilgore gave him an early prototype of the Air Force 1 to play basketball in. Amazed by the performance of the sneaker, Hatfield started thinking that his skills would be better suited to designing Nike's athletic footwear as opposed to their buildings. That worked out fairly well for all involved. Hatfield was a runner in college and a football player as a youth, so one can assume it was his speed and agility that helped him stand out on the basketball court rather than his stature.
26. The Air Force 1 Got Tinker Hatfield Into Sneaker Design