Phil Knight Net Worth

Phil Knight is an American Businessman and co-founder of shoe giant Nike, formerly Blue Ribbon Sports. From selling sports shoes from his car to making a giant footwear and apparel brand, Knight's transformation of a simple idea into a global powerhouse is just revolutionary. Yet, behind the iconic swoosh is a story of remarkable financial success.

Phil Knight's net worth stands at $41 Billion, making him the 30th wealthiest person globally. Apart from Nike, he also holds a stop-motion film production company, Laika. These ownerships not only make Knight one of the richest people but also mirror his keen entrepreneurship spirit and unwavering dedication. Well, if you're curious about how he made Nike a giant global sportswear phenomenon and accumulated such a massive net worth, get the scoop on everything with this article.

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Quick Insights Into Phil Knight's Personal Life

Full NamePhilip Hamspon Knight
Stage NamePhil Knight
Age86 years
Birth DayFeb 24, 1938
Birth PlacePortland
Height5 ft 9 In (1.75m)
SpousePenny Knight
Children Travis Knight, Christina Knight & Mathew Knight
Nationality American
Zodiac SignPisces
Source of WealthNike Ownership
Net Worth $41 Billion

Phil Knight's Early Life, Childhood & Career Beginnings

Early Life In Oregon

Philip Hampson Knight was born in Portland, Oregon on February 24, 1938, to parents Lota Knight and Bill Knight. His father Bill Knight was a lawyer and later became a newspaper publisher. Knight spent his childhood in the neighborhood of Portland, Eastmoreland, and went to Cleveland High School. Phil showcased incredible athletic talent from a very early age.

He honed his skills as a middle-distance runner at Cleveland School which led him to earn a scholarship to study at the University of Orgean. Moreover, he also worked as a sports reporter for Oregon Daily Emerald and a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1959 with a degree in Journalism. Well, who knows that his time at University will lay the foundation of his future success.

Career Begining

After he graduated from the University of Oregon, Knight enlisted in the United States Army where he served seven years in the Army Reserve. Moreover, Phil built an interest in making running shoes at the time he was graduating from the University. This passion led him to pursue a master's degree in business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He prepared a thesis proposing that can high-quality Japanese sports shoes could compete with established German sports shoes in the American market.

He completed his degree in 1962 and after that, he went on to graduation trip which included a stop in Kobe, Japan. Phil Knight found the Tiger brand running shoes, made by Onitsuka Co. in Kobe. The shoe quality grabbed his attention which set the place for meeting him with Mr. Onitsuka. It was the time when Phil put his theory to work. Moreover, he successfully inked a distribution deal with Onitsuka Tiger to sell in Western America.

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The Birth Of Blue Ribbon Sports & Nike

Phil Knight worked as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for Coopers & Lybrand while he waiting for the delivery of the first sample of Tiger shoes to Portland which almost took one year to arrive. He also worked as an accounting professor at Portland State University. When he finally got the Tiger running shoe samples, he instantly sent samples to Bill Bowerman, who used to be his former track coach at the University of Oregon.

Bowerman was not only just impressed by the quality of the shoes, but he rapidly made the order and also offered Knight a business partnership. This is how, Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) came into existence on January 25, 1964, which later changed into Nike. With the initial investment of $1,000, Knight started selling the Tiger shoes out of his green Plymouth Valiant Car at different track meets across the Pacific Northwest.

Blue Ribbon Sports Struggling Period

During Nike's early years, there wasn't a culture of venture capital like today's modern companies who seek venture financing to expand their operations. In those days, Phil Knight had to gain loans and other non-equity forms of financing to expand his business and operations. Moreover, Phil Knight also struggled to get bank loans as most of them were hesitant to lend him money because they believed he lacked enough equity to finance Nike's rapid expansion.

He reinvested all of the money he made from the sales right into business and returned to the bank on various occasions to ask for cash for completing the progressively larger shoe orders. This high-stakes and debt positioning lasted for 16 years before the company went public and bettered its financial position.

Blue Ribbon Sports transitioned into Nike in May 1971. The company was named after the Greek winged goddess of victory, as suggested by its first employee, Jeff Johnson. Nike launched its famous Swoosh logo in 1971 but it all started in 1969 at Portland State University.

In the 1960s when Nike was known as Blue Ribbon Sports, Phil Knight heard a student Carloyn Davison that she couldn't afford to take an oil painting class. Knight offered him an internship as a designer to make charts and graphs for meeting with Onitsuka. He paid her $2 per hour and she continued working for him for two years after she made a logo for him.

In 1971, Knight asked Davison to design a “stripe” logo that was simple, conveyed motion, and was unique from the logos of Adidas, Puma, and Tiger.

After giving Knight and initial employees Jeff Johnson and Bob Woodall, five to six final logos, they settled on the Swoosh logo. Davindon demanded more time to refine the logo but Phil Knight finalized it because of the production deadlines and for finalizing the transactions. King paid $34 for the Swoosh logo and submitted the logo in June 1971 to the U.S. Patent Office.

After 12 years, when the cash flow of Nike became impressive, Woodwall spoke to Knight that Davidson's reward was not enough for her contribution to designing a logo. Considering this both arranged a surprise party for the designer which she was awarded with the acknowledgment certificate. She also received a gold ring incarnated as the Swoosh symbol with a diamond corporation near the curve. Knight also gave her 500 shares which is now equal to almost 32,000 shares.

Rise Of Nike As A Gaint Footwear

Nike took four decades to become the world's biggest footwear brand and all those years Knight planned and envisioned how to make its baby company as big as others like Adidas. His commendable leadership, strategic thinking, and innovative design pulled the attention of many athletes and sports enthusiasts around the world. Nike started gaining international recognition and Knigt's relentless efforts boomed Nike to new heights.

In 1980, as aforementioned, Nike went public, and its initial public offering raised significant funding for the company's growth. This was an important turning point in the Knights's business journey since the IPO boosted Nike's valuation and set the stage for future growth. Under Knight's leadership, the company increased its product line from footwear to apparel and accessories and also launched the brand in the international market, and followed new marketing campaigns for expansion.

Moreover, Nike also signed many top athletes like Michael Jordon, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Tiger Woods for endorsing the brand in lifetime deals, in return giving them millions of dollars. The endorsement and partnership deal profited Nike tons of millions and made him the frontrunner in athletic footwear. Several athletes such as iconic Michael Jordan launched his shoe line under Nike which gained immense popularity and profits.

In November 2004, he stepped down from the position of Nike's CEO, however, he served the company as a chairman of the board. Later, Phil Knight officially retired from the company and stepped down as chairman in 2016.

Today, Nike is one of the shoe giants producing billions in revenue, and has outlets in over 190 countries. These figures represent Phil Knight's unwavering dedication to making Nike one of the global behemoths. Simor and Schuster published Phil Knight's memoir, Shoe Dog in 2016. The book acquired immense popularity and gained tremendous success, ranking fifth on The New York Best Seller list for business books.

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Phil Knight's Astonishing Net Worth: The Factors Behind His Financial Empire

As of writing, Forbes estimated Nike founder Phil Knight net worth of $40.9 billion which makes him the 30th richest person around the globe. Knight made the most of his wealth as a shareholder in Nike and some other significant business ventures including the animation studio Laika.

Nike Shares & Ownership

Phil Knight controls the company through the holding of shares totaling 7% ownership as well as shares held through family-owned Swoosh, LLC, additionally, shares held by his son Travis Knight Trust. He holds a major position in Nike's Class A and B shares worth over 40 billion.

Nike Revenue 

From Nike's revenue, you can a bit of an idea of how Phil Knight became a billionaire. Nike generally produced major revenue from footwear. In the last fiscal year, Nike generated over $33.13 billion in revenue from footwear, $13.85 billion from apparel, $1.73 billion in equipment, and $2.43 billion from the Converse brand (one of the Nike family brands). In total, Nike generated $51.22 billion in revenue in 2023 and over $5 billion in net profits.

Vinton Studios

Apart from Nike, Knight has a notable contribution in establishing the animation studio Laika which was rebranded from Vinton Studios. Knight held a 15% stake in computer animation and claymation company Vinton Studios back in 1998. After four years, when Vinton Studios was facing financial trouble, he gave them additional capital and ensured the company's debt.

Later, he moved from being a minor shareholder to the chairman of the board while taking the majority of the shares. He advised the company to step away from television and concentrate on animated films where other famous studios Pixar and Disney gained success. He rebranded Vinton Studios as Laika and additionally invested $180 million.

The money was used to fund the company's debut feature picture, Coraline. Moreover, Knight used his impact to recruit animation professionals from Disney, DreamWorks, and Pixar. Laika achieved success under his direction and produced animated feature films plus music videos and ads. The success of the animation studio also contributed significantly to his total net worth.

The Trajectory Of Phil Knight's Net Worth Over The Years

YearsNet Worth 
2016$24.4 Billion
2017$26.2 Billion
2018$29.6 Billion
2019$33.4 Billion
2020$29.5 Billion
2021$49.9 Billion
2022$47.3 Billion
2023$45.1 billion
2024$40.9 Billion
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A Sneak Peak Into Phil Knight's Lavish Lifestyle, Real Estate Portfolio, Cars & More

Like many other rich dudes, Phil Knight has a lavish living style. He has a gigantic real estate portfolio which he also takes as an investment point of view. Let's get complete details of his real estate portfolio and other assets including cars and jets.

Real Estate Endeavors

From an investment point of view, Phil Knight has a sharp eye for real estate. He knows owning properties in commercial and residential factors will have a tangible impact on his net worth. Phil Knights owned land in La Quinta, an exclusive gated community in Madison Club which he purchased for $2.5 million, and sold almost for $2 million due to a downturn in the real estate market.

He also owned another home in the same area of the La Quinta Resort which eventually sold for $1.5 million. Knight real estate ventures expanded beyond this community. He has a stunning home in Hillsboro, Oregon, spread over 6,800 square feet on five-acre land. The home consists of four bedrooms, a guesthouse, and five bathrooms which is worth $2.1 million.

The American billionaire also invested $7.6 million to build a private jet hanger near Oregon in 2014. The hanger is made on the 29,000 square feet of space for the family's personal jets and flights. The hanger is located straight from the one built by Nike in 2002 and was leased by Ochoco Administrative Services LLC under a 30-year deal in which the company will pay an annual rent of $53,000 and development charges of $177,000 for one time.

Massive Car Collection

Besides a vast real estate portfolio, Phil Knight seems to be a car enthusiast with massive sleek, and worthy collections. His amazing car collections include an Audi R8 which is a whopping $120,000. He also owns Ferrari Enzo which holds a special place in Phil's car collection due to its sleek lines, powerful engine, and limited production.

Phil Knight also has a Porsche 911 GT3 RS which is quite famous among driving enthusiasts and known for its performance and precision handling. Phil's passion for speed and agility is evident from his purchase of this track-focused sports car. Besides these, he also has a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Aston Martin DB5, and Ford GT.

Private Jets 

Well for your information, Knight's endeavor isn't limited to chasing speed but also expands to touching the horizon. He acquired three private jets which stand in a personal hangar. Two of them are owned by Nike. One of them is the Gulfstream G650, a luxurious jet, registered with a unique name N1KE. The jet is worth $65 million

Phil Knight's Work As A Philanthropist

From humble beginnings as a small shoe distributor to making global footwear, Phil Knight is a living example of a true and passionate entrepreneur. Well, everybody knows him as a billionaire while a few know him as a prominent philanthropist. He not only gleaned a billion-dollar net worth but also invested millions in helping humanity and society.

In 1990, he established the Philip H. Knight Charitable Foundation Trust and from this venture, he made significant contributions. His philanthropic work also included helping Stanford University. He donated over $105 million to the university in 2006. For your information, it was the highest individual donation to a U.S. business school at that time. Due to his donation, the university started building a campus the Knight Management Center.

Moreover, Philip Knight donated $400 million to launch the Knight-Hennessy Scholars graduate program to fight global issues such as climate change, education, and poverty. In 2022, he gave Stanford $75 million to establish the Phil and Penny Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience, aimed at researching cognitive and degenerative brain diseases.

Moreover, Phil's philanthropic activities also made a notable impact on the University Of Oregon. He donated over $1 billion to launching and supporting various academic projects including the rebuilding of the Knight Library and the building of the Knight Law Center. Besides education, he also promoted sports, and regarding athletics, he has contributed to state-of-the-art facilities including the Moshofsky Center and the Matthew Knight Arena.

Additionally, in 2023 Phil Knight and his wife Penny donated $400 million to support the Rebuild Albina project in Portland. This initiative aimed to support and empower the Black community by providing education and developing a culture to foster a sense of belonging in the Albina Area.

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The Future Of Phil Knight's Net Worth

Considering his legacy in business and philanthropy, it automatically raises the question of his net worth future trajectory. Well, giving a sure-shot answer in this scenario is difficult as its wealth can go in any direction. However, some factors can contribute to increasing his net worth in the coming years.

1- Increase In Nike Performance

Phil Knight's net worth is directly related to Nike's performance. As Nike has been making a billion-dollar revenue, it can be predicted that its revenue will continue to boost in the future which will contribute significantly in increasing its fortune. As a massive portion of his wealth is tied to his ownership stake in Nike, Phil may adapt strategic partnerships, and innovative product offerings that poised the company for continued growth and add a major portion to his overall fortune.

2- Investment Portfolio

Besides his ownership in Nike, his investment portfolio includes a diverse range of assets including real estate, cars, and private jets. A wise businessman believes in building different assets and that's why Phil Knight has a sharp eye for real estate. However, depending on the trend of the financial market in stocks and real estate, Knight's net worth can see fluctuations in the coming years.

Moreover, with his business acumen, he can think to invest in other real estate properties or gain partnership stocks in some other business ventures. By leveraging his influence, he can expand his investments in different industries which effectively contribute to his overall fortune.

3- Philanthropic Endeavors

As a committed and true Philanthropist, Phil Knight will continue to donate millions of dollars to societal issues and leverage his influence to make a difference in the world. Moreover, he did a lot for education, healthcare, sports, and arts and continues to do so. While charitable funding may reduce his total net worth but surely leaves a lasting impact on society and could influence his legacy more than the net worth.

4- Succession Planning

Possibly, Phil may think about succession planning now. As Nike is owned by Phil's family, he may charge his role and ownership to other members of the family. Moreover, Nike's company succession plan and any changes could have implications for his net worth. Effective leadership, management, and strategic decisions regarding ownership will shape Knight's financial future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Owns Nike?

Knight family owns the majority of the company, Nike. Phil Knight's son, Travis A. Knight is the top shareholder with a 7% stake in Class A stocks and a 2.4% stake in Class B stocks. Moreover, the Knight family also holds the company shares through Swoosh, LLC and Travis Knight Trust. Combining all the individual shares, Swoosh LLC and Travis Knight Trust, the family possesses over 97% of Class and 21% of Class B stocks. Simply put, Knight and family hold 20% of the $51 billion company.

Who Became The CEO Of Nike After Phil Knight?

After Phil resigned from the presidency of the company, Mark Paker became the Nike CEO in 2015. He was earning a yearly salary of 476.6 million, according to the New York Times in 2016. He is currently working as the President of the Walt Disney Company.

What Is The Net Worth Of Nike CEO?

The Nike CEO, Phil H. Knight has a total net worth of $41 billion according to Forbes. Apart from his ownership in Nike, he also owns an animated film production company, Laika.


The legendary entrepreneur, Phil Knight's net worth stands at 41 billion USD which is mainly tied to his ownership in Nike. As we contemplate his financial trajectory, it is evident that his fortune not just represents remarkable figures but a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and keen business acumen. Due to his relentless pursuit of excellence, commitment, innovation, and quality, he made Nike one of the global mammoth footwear brands.

Moreover, his influence runs beyond the world of sports shoes, and has made significant contributions to animation film production and philanthropy. As we look ahead, we can expect Knight's net worth to continue to evolve alongside his ongoing contributions making a long-lasting impact for the betterment of the world.

Emma James

A distinguished writer with an impressive 8-year track record of contributing to various prominent informational websites.

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