Needless to say Phil Knight is an important part of sneaker history. Really without Phil Knight there would be no Nike which we don’t even want to think about. For those that don’t know the story here is a cliff notes version. A native Oregonian, Knight went to the University of Oregon for college. There he ran track where his coach was Bill Bowerman. After graduating from Oregon he got his Masters from Stanford and traveled. Along his journey he discovered Tiger shoes in Japan. Intrigued by the product and cold-calling the ownder he was able to secure the contract as the only United States distributor of the shoes. Back stateside he got Bowerman to order the shoes for his team and the relationship between the two grew. This lead to them partnering to create Blue Ribbon Sports with Knight selling sneakers out the back of his Plymouth.
With sales growing, Phil Knight was able to quit his other jobs and focus solely on Blue Ribbon Sports. After some tension and break up between the company and Tiger it was time for a reboot. After a suggestion from a friend, BRS turned into Nike, the Greek winged goddess of victory. Nike’s logo was created for a $35 from Carolyn Davidson in 1971, who was later compensated with company stocks years later. Bowerman used his wife’s waffle iron to create waffle soles, the idea to create a way to have rubber spikes for running. And from there they kept moving forward and that was how the Nike story started.
Although he stepped down as the CEO of Nike after his son’s passing in 2004, Knight is still the chairman of the board and part of Nike. A very rich man nowadays, his passion for Oregon is deep and strong. We wish Mr. Knight a very happy birthday and a thank you as what he created is the foundation of many of our passions.