How Philip H. Knight Transformed the Athletic Shoe Revolution

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  • Topic: Bill Bowerman, Nike, Inc., University of Oregon
  • Pages : 3 (1190 words )
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  • Published : April 20, 2013
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Position: Chairman of Board of Directors in NIKE, INC
The Nike boss wasn't a big fan of advertising, but the company's flair for promotion launched an athletic-shoe revolution. "Play by the rules. But be ferocious."-Philip H. Knight
In 1993, the man whom The Sporting News voted "the most powerful person in sports" wasn't an athlete, a manager or a team owner. He was Philip H. Knight, the dynamic iconoclast who for nearly 30 years has shod the feet of sports legends and "weekend warriors" alike. In less than a decade, his marketing savvy and uncompromising competitiveness had transformed the athletic-shoe industry and made Nike one of the most successful and widely recognized brand names in the world. Knight first came up with the blueprint for what would become the world's No. 1 athletic-shoe company while working on his master's degree at Stanford University. Assigned to write a term paper on starting a small business in an area he knew well, the former University of Oregon track star naturally chose running. He outlined a plan for breaking the stranglehold Adidas had on the running-shoe market by using cheap Japanese labor to manufacture a cheaper, better-quality running shoe. Shortly after graduating in 1962, Knight decided to put his plan into action. He flew to Japan to visit Onitsuka Tiger Co., manufacturer of an Adidas knockoff sold in Japan. Introducing himself as the head of Blue Ribbon Sports, a company which existed only in his mind, Knight told Tiger executives that his firm was the ideal choice to import their shoes into the United States. He convinced Tiger to send him some samples, promising to place an order after his "partners" examined them. Back in the United States, Knight borrowed money from his father to pay for the samples, and he sent a few pairs to his former University of Oregon coach, Bill Bowerman, who quickly became his partner. Putting up $500 each, Bowerman and Knight officially formed Blue Ribbon Sports...
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