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Who Is Phil Knight?

Phil Knight is an American billionaire, philanthropist, and businessman who has a net worth of $40 billion. He is the chairman emeritus and co-founder of the shoe giant, Nike. He was also former CEO and chairman of the company. In October 2019, he was named by Forbes as the 21st richest person in the world. He is also the owner of Laika, a film production enterprise.

Personal Details

Celebrity Name: Phil Knight
Full Name: Philip Hampson “Phil” Knight
Gender: Male
Birth Date: February 24, 1938
Birth Place: Portland, Oregon, US
Age: 82
Height: 1.76m
Weight: 82 kilos
Nationality: American
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Status: Married
Wife: Penny Knight, married since 1968
Children: Matthew Knight, Christina Knight, Travis Knight
Profession: American philanthropist and businessman
Net Worth: $40 billion

Early Life

Phil Hampson Knight was born on February 24, 1938, in Portland, Oregon. His parents were Lota Hatfield Knight and Bill Knight, a former lawyer and newspaper publisher. Phil was brought up in Eastmoreland, a neighborhood in Portland. He went to Cleveland High School. His father refused to offer him a summer job at his newspaper company, believing that Phil must look for a job on his own. As a result, Phil went to work with Orgenonian, a rival then for his father’s newspaper company.

He attended the University of Oregon to complete his studies. There, he was a sports reporter and graduated a degree in journalism in 1959. He is also a graduate brother of Phi Gamma Delta.

Personal Life

On September 13, 1968, Phil Knight married Penelope Parks, whom he met while working at Portland State University. They have a home in La Quinta, California. They have two sons, Travis Knight, the president and CEO of Laika, and Matthew Knight, who died in 2004 due to a scuba diving accident.

Phil Knight is a philanthropist and has made tons of donations to various organizations. Some of these are $105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, more than $100 million dollars to the University of Oregon, $100 million to the UO athletics Fund, $100 million to the OHSU Cancer Institute, and $112 million in Nike stock to charity among others.

Phil Knight Total Net Worth


Early Years

Knight was in a totally different job before Nike was born. He first worked as a certified public accountant. He first worked for Coopers & Lybrand then transferred to Price Warehouse later on. Then, he became an accounting professor at PSU or Portland State University.

The Birth of Nike, Inc.

Nike was first named Blue Ribbon Sports. Right after he graduated from college, he enlisted in the army. He was able to serve seven years in the Army Reserve and a year of active duty. After that, he went to Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he created a paper that will later on inspire him to sell running shoes. His goal was to import high-quality and affordable running shoes made from Japan and sell them in the US. He finished a master’s degree in business administration in 1962.

After graduating, he went to Kobe, Japan, where he discovered the famous Tiger shoes made by Onitsuka. He was so impressed with the quality that he reached out to the owner. After they met, Knight was able to achieve the distribution rights of the Tiger shoes in the Western US.

It took a year for the shoes to be shipped and while waiting, Knight worked as an accountant in Portland. When he received the samples, he sent two pairs to his friend, Bowerman. To his surprise, his friend bought the Tiger shoes and also offered to be his partner. Knight agreed and that was the founding of Blue Ribbon Sports and will later be renamed to Nike.


Following the success of Will Vinton Studios in the 90s, the company looked for investors, including Phil Knight. He assumed a 15% stake in the company. In 1998, he helped employ his son, Travis, who had a failing rap music career.

Stating mismanagement, Knight bought the company and took control of the board with the help of the executives of his other company, Nike. After Will Vinton left, Knight renamed the company into Laika. He also appointed Travis as one of the boards. Laika released Coraline, its first film, in 2009, which was a success. Because of this, Travis was promoted to president and CEO of Laika.

Awards and Achievements

In 2000, due to his contributions to Sports in Oregon, he was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. In February 2012, he was an inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Moreover, he was elected in the 2015 American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his great “contributions to business, corporate, and philanthropic leadership.”

Phil Knight Total Net Worth

To date, Phil Knight has a net worth of $40 billion. He has earned great wealth from the continuing success of his shoe company, Nike. He is also earning a huge chunk of money from his production company, Laika.