THE SPIRIT OF COMPETITION

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For a while, Phil Knight interviews were few and far between. There was him having his lunch interrupted by Michael Moore, a Sports Illustrated cover story, that piece on The Word about his son’s brief rap career, some business shows, a scattering of speeches and that Oprah appearance. But with the release of his memoir, Shoe Dog, he’s been doing the circuit. The book is great — an early 1960s to 1980 account of Nike’s early days, from epiphany to public offering that’s well-written and bullshit-free, giving a good account of just how short-lived the company could have been. It’s a damn shame that Adi Dassler was too busy with his business to put pen to paper and tell his side of the sportswear story for a bigger picture of how the industry grew, but given Knight’s reticence to open up too much and let the swoosh speak instead, it’s great to have access to a deeper perspective. He gave Stephen Colbert an incredible Presto SMU and the CBS Sunday Morning chat last week had a lot of good insight and CNBC discovered that there’s still no love between Knight and Paul Fireman, with Under Armour’s Kevin Plank seemingly added to the top of that enemy list. Seeing as the chances of a man worth many, many billions bothering to participate in a two-hour podcast are remote, the book and its accompanying chats are really as good as it’s liable to get.

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