Phil Knight and Family: A Billionaire’s Biography

Phil Knight family 1


Phil Knight is an American billionaire entrepreneur and co-founder of the world-renowned footwear and sportswear brand, Nike. He is also the founder of the philanthropic Knight Foundation, which focuses on investing in education and strengthening democracy.

Early Life and Education

Phil Knight was born on February 24, 1938, in Portland, Oregon. His father, William W. Knight, was a lawyer, and his mother, Lota Hatfield Knight, was a homemaker. Knight was a shy and introverted child, but he loved sports and was an excellent runner.

After completing his high school education at Cleveland High School in Portland, Knight attended the University of Oregon, where he earned a degree in journalism. He was also a member of the university’s track and field team, and in 1959, he won a national championship in the mile run.

Career and Achievements

After graduating from college, Knight served in the Army Reserve for one year before enrolling in the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It was during his time at Stanford that Knight wrote a paper outlining a business plan for importing and selling Japanese running shoes in the United States.

In 1964, Knight and his former coach, Bill Bowerman, partnered up to start a company, Blue Ribbon Sports. They sold their Japanese running shoes out of the trunk of Knight’s car at track meets, and the company quickly gained popularity. In 1971, they rebranded the company as Nike and became the largest athletic shoe manufacturer in the world.

Today, Nike is a multi-billion dollar company with a global presence. Knight served as Nike’s CEO for several years and later as its chairman until his retirement in 2016.

Aside from his work at Nike, Knight is also a noted philanthropist. In 1984, he and his wife, Penny, established the Knight Foundation, which has since donated millions of dollars to support education and strengthen democracy in the United States.

Personal Life

Phil Knight has been married to his wife, Penny Knight, since 1968. They have two sons together, Travis and Matthew.

Knight has been a lifelong fan and supporter of the University of Oregon, and the school’s track and field facility, Hayward Field, was named after him and his wife in recognition of their contributions to the university.


Name Phil Knight
Born February 24, 1938
Country United States
Sector Fashion/ Sports
Companies Nike, Inc.
Net Worth $35.9 billion
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