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Phil Knight (1938)close

Born in Portland, Oregon, Phil Knight graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS in business administration and competed on the track team. In 1964, Knight and his former track coach, Bill Bowerman, each invested $500 to start Blue Ribbon Sports, the company that would later become Nike. The first athletic shoe to bear the Nike brand was the Cortez in 1972. By 1979, the company (named for the Greek goddess of victory) claimed 50% of the US running shoe market. Today Knight is the chief executive officer, president and chairman of Nike.

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