In 1929, Rudolph and Adolf started the Dassler Brothers Shoe Company. Rudolph was the salesman and the designer. In 1939, they provided shoes to Jesse Owens for the Berlin Summer Olympics. This caused their business to bloom. But just a few years later, their relationship died. In the middle of the night, Rudolph angrily moved across town to set up a new company that he named “Puma.” Adolf responded by hatefully renaming their company “Adidas,” which comes from the first three letters of his nickname and the first three letters of his last name. But their feud didn’t stay between them. It spread to the entire town, and led to it being nicknamed “The Place of Bent Necks” because when people in town would meet in the streets they would look down to see whose shoes the other person was wearing.
The dispute between the Dassler brothers was not the first time a feud led to broken hearts. The Bible tell us about Cain and Abel, Noah’s sons, Abraham and Lot. Even Jesus’ disciples fought over which one was greatest. In God Has An App For That, Dudley Rutherford notes how this painful reality “has been repeated across the ages – wives and husbands divorce, parents become estranged from their children, brother contends with brother, sisters stop speaking to one another, and longtime friendships dissolve bitterly.” In fact, he adds, “if you were able to see inside every person . . . you would notice a conspicuous fracture on just about every heart.”