Phil Knight

One of the most influential and significant businessmen in the game of basketball, Phil Knight is the co-founder, former CEO, and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of NIKE, Inc. Knight built a company from the ground up that is widely credited with expanding the game of basketball around the world through its innovative products and influential marketing. His visionary leadership merged top-flight sports and popular culture by developing elite footwear, apparel, and equipment built on performance, innovation, and emotion. Nike was the first sports brand to incorporate top athletes to connect with consumers emotionally, landing the most significant sports personality of all time in Michael Jordan. The 1985 debut of the Air Jordan basketball sneaker changed the athletic footwear and apparel industry for good. Nike later signed Sheryl Swoopes as the first woman to have her own signature shoe, supported the game in places like China, and strengthened collegiate athletics by providing resources to grow, maximize, and enhance the student-athlete experience on campuses across the country.