It took me less than a month to devour “Shoe Dog”, the autobiography of the iconic (and very successful) Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, one of the world’s largest suppliers of sports shoes and clothing and a major manufacturer of sports equipment. In November 2015, Forbes ranked Knight at No. 15 on its list of the world’s wealthiest people, thanks to an estimated net worth of US$28.1 billion.
On page 365 of what he calls “a memoir”, Knight recalls being at an event in July 2005 when the world-famous basketball player, LeBron James, asked him for a private word.
The conversation went like this:
“Phil can I see you a moment?”
“Of course” Phil answers.
“When I first signed with you,” LeBron says, “I didn’t know all that much about the history of Nike. So I’ve been studying up.”
“Oh?” Phil exclaims.
“You’re the founder.”
“Well. Cofounder. Yes. It surprises a lot of people.”
“And Nike was born in 1972.” LeBron goes on to say.
“Well. Born—? Yes. I suppose,” Phil says.
“Right. So I went to my jeweller and had them find a Rolex watch from 1972.”
“He hands me the watch,” Knight writes in his book. “It’s engraved: With thanks for taking a chance on me.”
James was referring to the fact that Phil Knight had offered him a seven-year contract when he was just 18 years old and unknown outside his home town. In fact, earlier this year, Nike signed a lifetime deal with James – the first in the company’s history – that some people are saying is worth ten times the value of the original one. LeBron James himself said about it, “It’s been an unbelievable time for myself and my family, and I’m just grateful that Nike and Phil Knight and everyone over there just believed in a skinny-old…skinny 18-year-old kid from Akron, Ohio, and I’m happy to be a part of such a great company.”
You don’t have to be rich and famous to show gratitude. If you feel that someone has made even the smallest sacrifice for you – a parent, a friend, a colleague – you should, when you have the chance, show what it means to you. You don’t have to buy a costly gift. At this time of the year, it can be something as simple and inexpensive as Christmas card – even a free e-card – to shows that you recognise and appreciate what that person has done, from bringing you up well (mum and dad) to giving you your first job (an old boss) or just treating you to lunch one day when you were not at your best (a work colleague or a friend).
We often talk about the power of three little words: I love you.
You would be surprised at the power of just two: Thank you.
And the amazing this is that both you and the person you are thanking will feel great. Try having an attitude of gratitude this Christmas!
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all our Fans & Friends! My warm wishes go out to your families and loved ones. Thank you for your support and loyalty throughout 2016. Michael R. Virardi