Nike Founder | Nike Shoe Creator Phil Knight Biography and Interesting Facts

Nike Founder | Nike Shoe Creator Phil Knight Biography and Interesting Facts 

Philip Knight
is one of the popular business personality from America, who is associated with the Nike shoe company. He is the Nike founder / Nike shoe creator.

Founders of Nike :

Phil Knight
and Bill Bowerman

Phil Knight co-founded Nike Inc., a footwear company in 1971.

Early Life:

Phil was born in Portland, Oregon on February 24, 1938. His parents were William W. Knight and Lola Knight. Phil Knight attended Cleveland High School and there he developed a passion for running.

As per sources, when his father William W. Knight refused to offer a summer job at his newspaper (the now-defunct Oregon Journal), believing that his son should find work on his own. Phil went on to the rival Oregonian, where he worked the night shift tabulating sports scores and every morning ran home the full seven miles.

Phil Knight went to the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene where he continued his passion for running. Here he met the legendary track coach Bill Bowerman under him he trained as a middle-distance runner. Eventually, track athlete Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman developed a meaningful friendship. Phil graduated with a journalism degree in 1959.

He was little confused about his future even after securing a bachelors degree in journalism and unsure of what he actually wanted to do in life. He enlisted himself in the army and completed a year of service.

Later, Phil decided to enroll himself in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. One of the courses he studied was Frank Shallenberger’s small business class which had a very positive impact on his career later.

While he was working on an assignment where students had to invent a new business, Phil Knight came up with a brilliant blueprint for a business dealing in sport's shoes. Soon he realized that the purpose of his life was to create a business dealing in shoes. In 1962, he was graduated with an MBA.


After finishing his graduation, Phil Knight embarked on a journey around the world. He landed in Japan in November 1962 where he discovered the Tiger brand running shoes which were manufactured by Onitsuka Co. Phil was so impressed by the high quality and low cost of the shoes and quickly secured a distribution contract with the company.

On his return to the United States, he took up a job in a Portland-based accounting firm alongside started to work on his business plan. Phil collaborated with his former coach Bowerman to form a partnership to distribute the shoes in America, and thus the company Blue Ribbon Sports was born in 1964.

Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman faced some disagreements regarding the contract with Onitsuka in 1971 and decided to start their own company. Knight's friend and an employee of Blue Ribbon Sports Jeff Johnson suggested naming the new company 'Nike' after the Greek goddess of victory.

Before finding the success with Blue Ribbon Sports business that would later become global sportswear conglomerate as Nike. Phil Knight was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with Coopers & Lybrand and then with Price Waterhouse. Later, Knight became an accounting professor at Portland State University.

Business success:

Nike saw tremendous growth throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The company’s fame and brand quality helped Knight to bring in more world-famous sportspeople like Michael Jordan, Andre Agassi, Charles Barkley and Tiger Woods for endorsements which eventually paid off in making Nike an international sports brand around the world.


According to the Portland Business Journal as of 2016, Phil Knight is the most generous philanthropist in Oregon history. So far his lifetime gifts now approach $2 billion.

Knight has donated US$105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has also donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Oregon.


Like it or not, life is a game