SBD/April 27, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Knight Moves: Nike's Phil Knight Sits For Rare Extended Interview With Oprah

Knight presented Oprah with a pair of Nike shoes during show
Nike Chair PHIL KNIGHT appeared on yesterday's episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and host OPRAH WINFREY introduced him by saying, "My next guest has been called the most powerful man in sports, and nobody can argue that because he basically changed the way the world -- all of us -- work out." Winfrey noted Knight is "notoriously media shy and it took my team a lot of convincing to get him here." Winfrey asked Knight, "Do you marvel at what Nike has become?" Knight: "Totally, but it was all a labor of love in the early days and really to this day." Winfrey said, "I can't believe how every year you all figure out a way to improve those shoes." Knight responded, "Hang around, we're just beginning." Nike endorsers MIA HAMM, CHARLES BARKLEY, PICABO STREET and LANCE ARMSTRONG all sent Knight videotaped messages of thanks. Armstrong then surprised Knight by joining him on set. Armstrong said Nike is "giving athletes the ability to tell a story, share a story, through ads or through partnerships, but ... this is a legitimate sports-performance company." Winfrey later asked Knight, "Do you like being called a visionary?" He responded, "No, I'm uncomfortable with that, so pick something else." The show also featured a taped look inside Nike's HQs, with Knight saying, "We wanted it to be a special place, a place that people were comfortable and happy in" ("The Oprah Winfrey Show," 4/26).
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