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Phil Knight, Nike
Founder Stories

The Nike Story: How Phil Knight Built a Global Empire

Who is Phil Knight?

Phil Knight ran at the University of Oregon, a track, and he created Nike shoes. He did it with Bill Bowerman, his track coach. They put up $500 each to start Nike and began as Blue Ribbon Sports.

How did Phil Knight come up with Nike?

Phil Knight, in 1958, was at the University of Oregon, as a business major, and as a track team miler. Phil disliked the American running shoe’s clumsiness and shared his dissatisfaction with Bill Bowerman, his coach. In 1964, they began marketing campaigns for comfortable shoes with Bowerman designs.

Background of Phil Knight and Nike start

Phil Knight, born on February 24, graduated in 1959 with a journalism degree from the University of Oregon. He served a year in the army and went on to pursue his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Knight came up first with the Blue Ribbon Sports idea, and it later became the Nike Company. Starting with a small amount of $500 with Bill Bowerman, he tried expanding. Bowerman came up with a design, and in 1971; the rubber-waffled sole was the brand’s signature. They enjoyed a competitive advantage as their shoes were cheaper than Adidas.

In 1971, Nike’s rebranding was official, and athletes, well-known began sporting the shoes, and the profits doubled. Bowerman and Knight’s connection was focusing on high-quality products for athletes. It means professional athletes found Nike their appropriate choice.

As supply chain management, in 1972, Nike Cortez launching was in the Olympics in Munich, and it became the Olympic athlete’s choice. The Cortezes debuted the Swoosh logo of Nike, and it became the first appealing sneakers that were appealing. It has function and fusion.

Nike grew quickly, taking its revenue jump in 1973 from $28.7 million in 1983 to $867 million.

How Phil Knight became popular?

In 1982, the company launched Air Force 1 model, featuring Nike Air. This shoe had cushioning in the heel as an air pocket to favor basketball players. It is the popular-most sneaker selling every year millions of pairs.

Another biggest accomplishment was Michael Jordan signing for launching an endorsement deal. In 1985, Nike courted Jordan and signed a $500,000 yearly contract. In 1985, in March, Air Jordan was at $65 per piece, and by the end of the year, the revenue was over $100 million.

In the mid-80s, the sales of Nikes started coming down, and Knight knew it was time to shift. In 1991, he focused his supply chain management on everyday customers. Nike, regained 1991, its footing and escalated its sales numbers. He said everything is a part of the marketing process.

Knight did not concentrate only on selling shoes. He said he was a part of the entertainment business and not the shoe business. Nike in the 90s faced obstacles with customers boycotting the brand for a decade.

By 1998, sales dropped low, and layoff staffing became compulsory. Knight came up with making drastic changes aiming to save his brand with marketing campaigns. He raised workers’ wages, improved labor practices, and ensured clean air within factories.

The brand controls athletic footwear brands and are a powerhouse since. Knight owns two private jets, Gulfstream G-V, and 2013 Gulfstream G650, and $21.6 billion.

Wrapping Up

Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, devoted 51 years and stepped down as chairman when he was 77 years. He is holding the reins, and Nike hopes to rename it soon.


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