Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#28 Phil Knight $26.2B

Random fact: Nike is named after the Greek winged goddess of victory.


Knight is the founder and largest shareholder of Nike, the world's biggest maker of athletic shoes and sports apparel. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company operates more than 1,000 stores and had revenue of $32 billion in the year to May 2016. The business’s range of brands includes Converse, Cole Haan and Jordan.

As of July 22, 2017:
Last change +$299M (+1.2%)
YTD change +$3.29B (+14.4%)
Industry Consumer
Biggest asset NKE US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 79
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Phil Knight's net worth of $26.2B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Knight is the founder and largest shareholder of Nike, the world's biggest maker of athletic shoes and sports apparel with more than 1,000 stores worldwide, according to its 2016 annual report. Knight controls 24 percent of the company, according to a December 2016 SEC filing. He holds Class A and B shares through Delaware-based Swoosh, family trusts and holding entities created for the benefit of his children, according to the filing.

His son Travis owns 10 percent of Swoosh through the Travis A. Knight 2009 Irrevocable Trust II, according to a company filing. These shares are still credited to Philip Knight in Bloomberg's analysis to reflect his status as founder and family patriarch, and he's still deemed to be the owner for tax purposes, according to Nike spokesman Greg Rossiter. Nike's Class A shares don't trade and are convertible to B shares on a one-to-one basis. Shares held by Knight's charitable foundation are excluded.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, insider transactions, taxes and market performance. The billionaire's philanthropic giving, including $500 million to Oregon Health & Science University's cancer institute and $400 million to Stanford University in February 2016, has been deducted from his cash balance.

Rossiter declined to comment on the calculation of Knight's net worth.


Birthdate: 2/24/1938
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: 1962, Stanford University, MBA University of Oregon, Bachelor's Degree

Born in Portland, Oregon, to a lawyer-turned-newspaper publisher, Knight enrolled at the University of Oregon in 1955, where he was a member of the college track team. After graduating with a master's of business administration from Stanford Business School, Knight traveled around the world for a year.

He created athletic footwear distributor Blue Ribbon Sports with his former college track coach, Bill Bowerman, in 1964 and continued to work as an assistant professor at Portland State University and as an accountant. He started selling sneakers at weekend track meets from the back of his green Plymouth Valiant and dedicated himself full time to his shoe business in 1968.

The billionaire changed the company's name to Nike in 1972. He sold shares in a public offering eight years later. Nike became the most popular sports apparel brand in the world over the next couple of decades by capitalizing on the influence top athletes began to have on popular culture. The company signed star athletes -- Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods -- and helped create brands around each of them to market its fashionable shoes and other sportswear. Knight stepped down as Nike's chief executive officer in 2004 and as chairman in 2016.

He has donated $500 million for cancer research to the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, $400 million to Stanford University for graduate scholarships and $500 million to the University of Oregon in Eugene for a science research center.

Knight is married, and his second son Travis is a Nike board member. His eldest son Matthew died in 2004. He also has a daughter, Christina.

  • 1938 Born in Portland to William and Lola Knight.
  • 1964 Starts Blue Ribbon Sports with his former college track coach.
  • 1971 Buys swoosh logo for $35 from design student Carolyn Davidson.
  • 1972 Blue Ribbon Sports is renamed Nike.
  • 1980 Nike sells shares in an initial public offering.
  • 1984 Signs Michael Jordan to an endorsement contract.
  • 1988 "Just do it" slogan is written by ad agency Wieden & Kennedy.
  • 2016 Steps down as chairman of Nike.