Basic Information About Phil Knight
|Category||Business › CEOs|
|Date of birth||1938-02-24 (85 years old)|
|Place of birth||Portland|
|Nationality||United States of America|
|Social Media||↗︎ Wikipedia|
Phil Knight: The Entrepreneur Behind Nike
Phil Knight is an American businessman, sports fan, and philanthropist, best known as the founder and largest individual shareholder of Nike Inc. With a net worth of $40 billion, Knight has become one of the most successful and influential figures in the sports industry.
Early Life and Education
Philip Hampson Knight was born on February 24, 1938, in Portland, Oregon. His parents, Lota Knight (née Hatfield) and Bill Knight, played a significant role in shaping his upbringing. Bill Knight was a prominent lawyer and later a newspaper publisher, instilling in his son the importance of hard work and determination.
Knight grew up in the Eastmoreland neighborhood of Portland and attended Cleveland High School. Following his high school graduation, he pursued higher education at the University of Oregon. During his time there, Knight excelled both academically and athletically. He became a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, worked as a sports reporter for the Oregon Daily Emerald, and even competed as a middle-distance runner.
After completing his undergraduate studies in 1959 with a degree in journalism, Knight enlisted in the United States Army. He served one year of active duty, followed by seven years in the Army Reserve. His time in the army further strengthened his discipline and work ethic.
With a desire to expand his knowledge and skills, Knight enrolled at Stanford Graduate School of Business and earned a master’s degree in business administration in 1962. Little did he know the life-changing encounter that awaited him shortly after.
The Birth of Nike
While on a graduation trip to Japan in 1963, Knight stumbled across Tiger brand running shoes made by Onitsuka Co. in Kobe. Impressed by their quality and affordability, he saw a business opportunity and secured the distribution rights for Tiger shoes in the western United States. Encouraged by his former track coach at the University of Oregon, Bill Bowerman, Knight decided to venture into the business world.
On January 25, 1964, Knight founded Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), which eventually became Nike. Initially, he sold Tiger shoes out of his car at various track meets across the Pacific Northwest. As demand grew, Knight left his accounting job and focused on expanding the business full-time.
In 1971, Nike introduced its iconic “swoosh” logo, designed by graphic design student Carolyn Davidson. The company continued to innovate and grow, becoming a dominant force in the sports industry. Under Knight’s leadership, Nike expanded its product lines to include apparel and accessories, partnering with athletes and teams around the world.
After four decades of leading Nike to success, Knight stepped down as CEO in 2004 but remained as chairman of the board. In 2015, he announced his retirement from the company’s board, leaving a lasting legacy.
Other Business Ventures and Philanthropy
Beyond Nike, Phil Knight has made significant contributions in various areas. In the late 199s, he invested in the animation studio Laika, which produced critically acclaimed films such as “Coraline” (2009). Knight’s entrepreneurial spirit extends beyond sports.
As a philanthropist, Knight has donated over $1 billion to various causes. He made a $500 million contribution to the University of Oregon Health & Science cancer center and donated $400 million to Stanford University for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. Additionally, he has supported the Stanford Graduate School of Business with a $105 million donation.
Despite his immense success, Knight remains humble and committed to giving back to society. His generosity has left a lasting impact in the areas of healthcare, education, and sports.
Personal Life and Legacy
In 1963, Phil Knight married Penelope “Penny” Parks, whom he had met during his time at Portland State University. They have three grown children: Matthew, Travis, and Christina. Sadly, Matthew passed away in 2004 while scuba diving in El Salvador, leaving a void in the Knight family.
Phil and Penny Knight reside in Beaverton, Oregon, where they have become well-known contributors and supporters of the University of Oregon athletic fund. Their dedication to sports excellence has been recognized numerous times, with the school naming the library after Phil’s mother and the law school after his father. Furthermore, the Matthew Knight Arena was built in honor of their late son’s legacy in 2011.
Thanks to Knight’s significant contributions to sports and business, he was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, solidifying his status as an influential figure in his home state.
Net Worth Details
As the founder and largest individual shareholder of Nike, Phil Knight controls 24 percent of the world’s largest athletic shoe and sports apparel company. Through a Delaware-based holding company aptly named “Swoosh,” Knight holds both Class A and Class B shares. His son Travis owns 10 percent of Swoosh, although the shares are still credited to Phil. Besides Nike, Knight’s entrepreneurial endeavors and wise investments have contributed significantly to his net worth.
With a net worth of $40 billion, Phil Knight has not only built an empire but has also utilized his wealth to make a positive impact on the world.
- In 2004, he resigned as Nike’s CEO, but remained chairman of the board until June 2015.
- Knight made a successful foray into the film industry, acquiring and rebranding the animation company Laika.
- Knight is renowned for his philanthropy, having donated over $1 billion to causes related to healthcare, education, and sports.
Phil Knight’s extraordinary journey from selling shoes out of his car to revolutionizing the sports industry is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and determination. His legacy extends far beyond Nike, leaving an indelible mark on the business world and society as a whole.