Nike hosting loaded event for Phil Knight’s 80th birthday

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Phil Knight knows how to throw a hell of a birthday party.

The Nike founder will be welcoming 16 of some of the country’s best programs to Portland over Thanksgiving weekend next year to commemorate his 80th birthday.

Duke, Florida, UConn, Georgetown, Michigan State, North Carolina, Arkansas Butler, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford and Texas will all be in attendance, along with Portland and Portland State.

That is one amazing lineup. Happy birthday to Phil, and Happy Hoops Thanksgiving to the rest of us.

The event will actually be two separate eight-team tournaments, but will all be played the Rose City over three days.


Nike and Under Armour host showcase events as the Shoe Wars continue to heat up


Nike and Under Armour each held August showcase events on Saturday night. Under Armour held its nationally-televised Elite 24 in Brooklyn in the 10th year of an annual event while Nike created a team of the EYBL’s best to compete for the weekend in the Bahamas to keep their players in-house.

The Nike EYBL Select team won in front of five NBA scouts as 2017 guard Gary Trent Jr. had 18 points and 2016 five-star forwards Jonathan Isaac, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum all had 16 points.

Here’s some of the highlights, including 2016 forward Miles Bridges throwing down some powerful dunks.

Under Armour’s Elite 24 was a good national showcase for 2016 guard Frank Jackson, who finished with 20 points. Big man Dewan Huell, a 2016 native of Florida, added 18 points. Frank Jackson, 2016 wing Josh Jackson, 2016 forward Edrice Adebayo and 2017 forward Billy Preston were named MVPs of the game.

Under Armour made sure to mention how the Elite 24 has turned into a major high school all-star game on Twitter and also took a subtle jab at Nike for organizing the event in the Bahamas.

Things are continuing to get interesting in the shoe wars between companies to keep high-end talent.

Kris Dunn, Georges Niang, Buddy Hield among college players at Nike Basketball Academy

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Saturday morning the first annual Nike Basketball Academy got underway in southern California, with the event hosting some of the top college and high school players in the country. Those in attendance will receive instruction from coaches as well as NBA players such as Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

The college roster doesn’t lack for talented players who should factor into the national Player of the Year conversations next season. Among those invited are Providence point guard Kris Dunn, Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and Iowa State forward Georges Niang. There are also two players in the group who have yet to play a game at the Division I level in LSU’s Antonio Blakeney and Ben Simmons.

LSU is one of three schools with multiple players in attendance. Arizona has two in guard Kadeem Allen (who redshirted last season and center Kaleb Tarczewski, and Gonzaga forwards Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer are representing the Bulldogs. Below is the list of college players in attendance at the camp, which runs through the weekend.

Kadeem Allen (Arizona)
Paris Bass (Detroit)
DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph’s)
Antonio Blakeney (LSU)
Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia)
Isaac Copeland (Georgetown)
Tre Demps (Northwestern)
Kris Dunn (Providence)
Daniel Hamilton (Connecticut)
Buddy Hield (Oklahoma)
Justin Jackson (North Carolina)
Damian Jones (Vanderbilt)
Shawn Long (UL Lafayette)
Georges Niang (Iowa State)
Gary Payton Jr. (Oregon State)
Jakob Poeltl (Utah)
Taurean Prince (Baylor)
Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga)
Ben Simmons (LSU)
Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona)
Isaiah Taylor (Texas)
Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa)
Denzel Valentine (Michigan State)
Tyrone Wallace (California)
James Webb III (Boise State)
Troy Williams (Indiana)
Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga)

Oregon giving out Phil Knight bobbleheads on Saturday vs. USC

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It’s n0 secret, Nike chairman Phil Knight is a University of Oregon graduate, and a generous one at that. Over the years, he has provided the Oregon athletic department with millions of dollars in donations for athletic facilities and dozens of different uniforms.

The athletic department is giving everyone in attendance at Saturday’s game against USC a free Phil Knight bobblehead, with ‘Thank You, Uncle Phil’ written on each one.

Knight graduated from Oregon in 1959. In 2012, his decades of contributions earned him enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, part of the same class as Reggie Miller and Ralph Sampson.

[h/t CBS Sports]

Xavier team managers post picture of new uniforms (PHOTO)

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In its first season in the new Big East, Xavier has unveiled its new basketball uniforms through the team manager’s Twitter account on Saturday.

This is the third program to show glimpses of their new threads this week. Kansas freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins previewed the Jayhawks new unis in a GQ photo shoot, while Baylor decided to take it easy on spectators’ eyes and went with a more traditional look.

Here is forward Jalen Reynolds in the new Musketeers home uniform:


[h/t College Spun]

Nike co-founder Phil Knight inducted into Hall of Fame

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Nike co-founder Phil Knight began building his brand by selling shoes out of the trunk of his car and, now, is one of the country’s wealthiest men and the architect of a dominant basketball empire.

For his work, he was recognized Friday night when he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Introduced by former NBA star Michael Jordan, one of the first to sign on to endorse the Nike brand, Knight spoke about Jordan’s importance to the growth of his business.

“His magic made him a brand,” Knight said at the podium. “He is to the sporting goods industry what Nathan Hale, Patrick Henry, Che Guevara and Mao Tse Tung were to world politics.”

Just how pervasive is the iconic Nike swoosh? According to Bloomberg, Nike owns 95% of the market share in basketball shoes, dwarfing competitors like adidas, Reebok, and Under Armour.

In contemporary amateur basketball, Nike’s EYBL tournament is the most recognizable group of events on the summer AAU circuit, culminating in the Nike Peach Jam during the live recruiting period in July.

In college basketball, flagship schools like Kentucky, Michigan State, Duke, North Carolina, and Connecticut are branded with Nike’s logo and carry the brand at that level.

It was announced in mid-August that 16 Nike teams will host a tournament in November 2017 to honor Knight’s 80th birthday.

Among the participants are all of those schools listed above, as well as Florida, Ohio State, Butler, Gonzaga, Stanford, Texas, Oklahoma, Portland, Oregon, Xavier, and Georgetown.

According to Forbes magazine, Knight’s net worth is estimated at $14.4 billion.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_