Philip Hampson Knight, better known as Phil knight is a billionaire businessman from the United States. He is the co-founder of Nike, Inc., one of the world’s major providers of athletic shoes and apparel, and formerly served as the company’s chairman and CEO. Knight, is called the “most powerful person in sports” but is neither a sportsman nor the owner of a sports team, yet his impact on the world of sports has been enormous.
According to the Bloomberg billionaire index, he is rated as the 30th richest person in the world as of 2022, with an estimated net worth of $38.8 billion. He also owns the stop motion picture production firm Laika.
Phil Knight Biography and Net Worth
|Net Worth $38.8 Billion|
|Full name Philip Hampson Knight|
|Birth Date Feb 24, 1938|
|Age 84 years old|
|Birthplace Portland, Oregon|
|Spouse Penelope “Penny” Knight|
Phil Knight Early Life
On February 24, 1938, Philip Hampson Knight was born, the son of lawyer turned newspaper publisher William W. Knight and his wife Lota. His father was a commanding but loving figure who encouraged his kid to test his abilities.
In Portland, he attended Cleveland High School. He resumed running at the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene and met famed track coach Bill Bowerman there. Eventually, Knight and Bowerman formed a strong and genuine bond. In 1959, Phil earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Phil joined the United States Army after graduating from the UO, serving one year on active duty and seven years in the Army Reserve. Knight enrolled at Standard Graduate School of Business when his active duty ended and he completed his MBA in 1962.
Phil Knight Career
In November 1962, he visited Japan and discovered the Tiger-brand running shoes made by Onitsuka Co. Knight was so impressed with the shoes’ outstanding quality and affordable price that he swiftly acquired a distribution arrangement with the manufacturer.
When he returned, he got a position at a Portland-based accounting firm while also working on his business plan. In 1964, he formed a collaboration with his former mentor, Bowerman, to distribute the shoes in America, and thus Blue Ribbon Sports was founded. The pair worked tirelessly to expand the firm, and over the next few years, they added retail locations in Santa Monica, California, and Eugene, Oregon.
In 1971, Knight and Onitsaka had several problems over the contract and he decided to form his own company with the name Nike.
As a former athlete, Knight aspired to create items that elite athletes throughout the world would want to use. He established friends with Olympic track competitors like long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine, seeking to persuade others to try his wares. Nike’s Cortez shoe made its debut at the 1972 Olympic trials and proved to be a huge success.
Knight offered tennis great John McEnroe an endorsement agreement, which proved to be one of his best marketing initiatives. After McEnroe injured his ankle, he began wearing a certain Nike model, and sales of that model skyrocketed in the months that followed.
Along with his enormous success, Knight came under fire from human rights groups for how Nike treated its workers in Asian countries. Despite the criticism, Nike remained one of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers. Nike expanded their business into hockey, golf, and soccer apparel in the 1990s. Their aggressive expansion approach worked off, and the corporation had more than $10 billion in annual revenues before 1999.
He resigned as Nike’s CEO in November 2004 but remained on the company’s board of directors. Knight announced his resignation as Nike’s chairman in June 2015, and he officially retired from the company’s board at the end of June 2016.
Phil Knight’s Wife and Children
Phil Knight married Penelope “Penny” Parks in 1963, and they had three children, Matthew, Travis, and Christina. The pair met at Portland State University, where he worked. Matthew died in 2004 while scuba diving in El Salvador as a result of an undiscovered congenital heart condition. Phil and his wife Penelope are currently residing in Beaverton, Oregon. Phil and Penny have been long-time sponsors and supporters of the University of Oregon sports fund, and the institution has honoured them numerous times. In 2011, the Matthew Knight Arena was named in honour of their late son.
Phil Knight’s Net Worth
Phil ranked as the 30th richest person in the world, with a $38.8 billion net worth. Phil Knight owns 24% of Nike, the world’s largest athletic shoe and sports clothing firm. He owns Class A and Class B stock through a Delaware-based holding company called “Swoosh.” Travis Knight owns 10% of Swoosh, but it is still attributed to Phil Knight. Nike also owns other brands like Converse and Jordan.
Phil Knight Philanthropy
Knight has donated over $1 billion to charity, including a $500 million gift to the University of Oregon Health & Science cancer centre, a $400 million gift to Stanford University to launch the Rhodes Scholarship-inspired Knight-Hennessy Scholars graduate-level education program, and a $105 million gift to the Stanford Graduate School of Business.