On the weekend of Sept. 6, the Basketball Hall of Fame will induct Nike CEO Phil Knight as a contributor to the game, a decision that's been considered both surprising and controversial.
The men that Knight has picked to present him at the big ceremony aren't nearly as shocking: longtime Nike endorser Michael Jordan and former Georgetown coach John Thompson.
As Eric Freeman of Ball Don't Lie writes, some have wondered whether Knight is deserving of the induction given the strong corporate ties between Nike and most of organized basketball's key organizations, but it's difficult to argue against Knight's impact on the game.
With Knight running the business and Jordan being the face of the brand, Nike has emerged to hold a market share of roughly 95% on basketball sneakers in the United States, ESPN's Darren Rovell says. Few partnerships have been more important for the emergence of basketball as a global sport than that of Nike and MJ, which is a clear factor in Knight's induction.
While Jordan won't be speaking at the event because presenters are merely asked to appear on stage in a ceremonial role, Freeman notes that the Chicago Bulls' legend's presence at the event gives added credibility to Knight's induction.
The Nike CEO may deserve the honor because of his many accomplishments, but it certainly hasn't hurt to have the best player in history standing behind you.
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