Tag Archive: Muhammad Ali


Muhammad Ali was the self-proclaimed, ‘Greatest of All Time.’

And then Joe Frazier walloped him with a massive left hook, sending Ali and his pretty red tassels sprawling on the canvas.

The lesson: Be careful about labeling someone, anyone — particularly anointing yourself — as the ‘Greatest.’

As an on-and-off naturalized Oregonian since 1975, Almost DailyBrett believes it’s now safe to make the call about the state’s greatest-ever citizen.

Hands down, it has to be Phil Knight.

Happy Birthday #82, Uncle Phil.

Some may want to immediately contend that Knight is being named Oregon’s greatest simply because he the 16th wealthiest in the world with an estimated fortune of $35.9 billion (Forbes). Bernie Sanders says billionaires should not exist. Oregon should be proud that Phil Knight more than exists; he thrives and cares.

To be considered by Almost DailyBrett for this lofty honor, one has to be born in Oregon. Salem lists among its most influential: President Herbert Hoover, Governor Tom McCall, trail blazers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but alas … none of them were born in Oregon.

Some worthy native Oregonian candidates for the ‘greatest’ designation include: Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, Senator Mark Hatfield, author Ken Kesey, Senator Wayne Morse, runner Steve Prefontaine and democratic socialist John Reed.

Sorry being the only American to be buried in the Kremlin Wall (played by Warren Beatty in the interminable “Reds”) does not put Reed at the very top of the greatest Oregonians list.

Why is Phil Knight the greatest? Let’s Just Do It.

Never In Recorded History Have So Many Oregonians Owed So Much To One Man

If one Googles (21st century verb) the word, “entrepreneur,” the image of one Philip Hampson Knight should serve as the definition.

His best seller, “Shoe Dog,” tells the story of how he turned a $1,000 loan from his father and almost failing about nine times, he actually turned the proverbial corner with his athletic apparel company, Nike.

Today, Almost DailyBrett is a happy-camper-investor for many moons in the global athletic apparel market leader by far, Nike (NYSE: NKE).

The total amount invested in Nike stock is $156 billion (e.g., Feb. 21 market capitalization figure) with shares trading at 35 times multiple compared to the prior year’s earnings (P/E ratio).  Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike reported annual revenues of $39.1 billion in FY ’19. In total, 70,000  employees work for Nike globally, 8,000 of them in Oregon.

Without any doubt, Phil Knight’s Nike is the largest and most influential publicly traded company in the history of the State of Oregon. Think of Nike this way, great company, great products, great employer and great publicly traded company. How’s that for fiduciary responsibility?

Nike pioneered its much copied marketing campaigns celebrating The Athlete: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, LeBron James,  Rafael Nadal, Kevin Durant, Rory McIlroy, Stephen Curry and many, many others.

Almost DailyBrett has not always agreed with Nike’s marketing decisions (e.g., Nike Takes A Knee), particularly designing and selling apparel associated with NFL persona non grata, Colin Kaepernick. Your author has never expected perfection with any individual or organization (impossible distinction to achieve, let alone maintain), and the same is true with Nike.

Giving Back To His Native State, Oregon

“And here at home in Oregon, we believe the potential to arm our talented young people with the skills and tools, they will need to have a lasting impact on the world and to pursue rewarding careers, make such (charitable) investments essential.” — Phil Knight upon making a $500 million pledge to the University of Oregon for a new science center

When discussing Uncle Phil’s financial impact you are reaching the end of the beginning of the Phil Knight story, not the beginning of the end. Knight’s legend particularly revolves on his giving back to his native Oregon and the world.

Preparations for the opening of the Knight Cancer Research Building, August 21, 2018. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Considering that Phil’s business strategies and his company focused on sports (e.g., track and field), it’s only natural to first emphasize his sports philanthropy, particularly for his alma mater, the University of Oregon (e.g., BA in Business Administration, 1959). He has given more than $300 million (and counting) to the school’s Athletic Department, including $100 million to the UO Athletics Legacy Fund.

Academically, he contributed the lion’s share to the $27 million renovation to the University of Oregon Knight Library. The name of his late father and 1932 Oregon Law grad, William W. Knight, adorns the 68,000-square foot UO law school.

He has also directed $500 million-plus to Oregon Health Sciences University’s (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute, and $125 million more to establish the OHSU Cardiovascular Institute.

Knight’s generosity is not limited to Oregon universities, as he gave $105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business (e.g., MBA, 1962). Recently, he pledged another $400 million to Stanford to establish an on-campus new graduate scholarship program.

With all due respect to the memories and accomplishments of Governor McCall and Senators Hatfield and Morse, Bowerman, Pre, Kesey and Kremlin Wall fixture, John Reed … none of them rose to the level of entrepreneurial and philanthropic success and impact on Oregon’s past, present and future than Phil Knight.

Yes indeed without any conceivable doubt, Phil Knight is the greatest Oregonian of all time.

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore/notable/knight.aspx

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore-oregonians.aspx

https://www.oregonlive.com/life-and-culture/erry-2018/07/227b06fbff2915/the-100-greatest-oregonians-ev.html

https://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#39cd30857e2f

https://www.businessinsider.com/athletes-endorsements-nba-golf-tennis-2019-6

https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2016/10/phil_and_penny_knight_will_giv.html#incart_river_index

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/taxing-uncle-phil-to-death/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/nike-takes-a-knee/

The Right Woman

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This is not a gushy blog.

Instead, it is a response to one of my earlier epistles that resulted in many pairs of panties getting themselves all in a twist.

It amazed this writer how my April 15 blog…as in the April 15, 2012 The Trouble with Widowers post managed to get so many (mostly of the feminine persuasion) so riled up. The offering is one that keeps on giving and gosh darn it; the piece helps my SEO as well.

Go ahead, I dare you…Type in The Trouble with Widowers into your Google search and let’s see what comes out on top. I am as confident as Muhammad Ali stepping into the ring.

Okay, it’s time for a little humility for a change.

I never wrote The Trouble with Widowers for pure SEO (Search Engine Optimization) glory. As a widower, I was perplexed and a little irritated … okay a lot irritated … why I was not doing better when it comes to the affairs of the heart.

Deep down, I am a nice guy with a fun career. I can communicate with the best of them; heck it’s my profession. If you don’t believe me, just ask me.

And yet, my efforts at honest, effective communication with the fairer gender were coming up empty. One of the problems was the image of the woman in my past: The one, who passed away eight years ago tomorrow.

May you rest in peace, Robin.

Looking back on the past 15 months, I am amazed how one blog could draw 1,338 page views-and-counting and a record 28 comments some of which telling me that I was “clueless,” an “attention seeker” and my favorite, a “martyr.” Ready to nail me to the cross?

As the famous cliché states, “You can’t always tell a book by its cover.”

The title, The Trouble with Widowers, may have been akin to Xmas morning for youngsters. The majority of the readers of this particular post (e.g., women) most likely saw presents under the tree in the form of a new avenue for male bashing. Let’s give it to those widowers…until…oh…the blog wasn’t pounding men with deceased spouses into fine grains of sand. Instead, it was a call for understanding and communication.

It was a call for the right woman.

There are approximately 3.6 billion card-carrying females on this planet. Thankfully for heterosexual widowers, there are more women than competing men. Finding that woman, an understanding woman, is an exercise in patience and perseverance. For me, it took seven years to find Jeanne.

Vice President (and fellow widower) Joe Biden lost one-half of his family in a horrific traffic accident in December, 1972. It was several years before he met his Jill. And it was even longer before he could think of his deceased wife and baby daughter with a “Smile of the lips before a tear in the eyes.” Jill is an understanding woman.

The same is true for me, even though one of my readers wrote: “God help the next woman who enters into a relationship with you” and another, who offered, “I doubt your girlfriend is as secure as you maintain.” Thank you, Gloomy Gus, Negative Nancy and the other human barbiturates.

What seemed in particular to get everyone’s bowels in an uproar was the prospect of a “shrine” to the deceased and the notion that a new GOW (girlfriend of a widower) or WOW (wife of a widower) was second best.

Growing up in Southern California, my mom at dinner time would turn on a small electric light to illuminate a large portrait of her mom (my grandma Peggy) and turn it off shortly before retiring. Was that a “shrine” to a deceased member of the family? What constitutes a shrine? The next question: Is it appropriate? I never questioned it.

As I offered before, photos of a deceased grandparent, parent, sibling, (Heaven forbid) child are kosher, but photos and art work from the late spouse are insensitive? Each and every one of them were family members. Why is it different if one married into the family?

And then there is the notion that the GOW or WOW is somehow “second best.” Let me ask this question: Does a mother with multiple children numerically rank her Kindern? Is this the equivalent of the BCS standings with the top two children vying for the mother’s number one spot when it comes to love? Will a trophy be awarded for winning the maternal, “Natty?”

There is no denying that a GOW or WOW is second, chronologically. That’s just common sense. The deceased spouse came first. That doesn’t make the new love of your life, second best. She is second. The same is true for children…only one can be the first child.

Let me offer the following: The venom that has been directed at me may be a cry of frustration. Dating a widower is not as easy as it seems. He usually does not carry the bitterness of many divorcees or those currently separated. He does not bring obvious questions of those post-40, who have never been down the aisle. In most cases, he brings to the party the experience of a successful marriage that was cut short by the Grim Reaper.

It all comes down to two-way symmetrical communication. Both need to understand. Both need to be accommodating. This is not a once-a-week practice, but it is every day. Relationships take work, even those with widowers.

A widower needs to work every day with the new woman in his life, just as he did in his past relationship. The same is true with the woman dating and loving the widower. It all comes down to the right widower and the right woman.

As one of my colleagues said to me last year: “When it’s good; it’s good.”

Thank you Jeanne. It’s been good, damn good. You are the right woman.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/smile-on-the-lips-before-a-tear-in-the-eyes/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/competing-against-the-dead/

Even though I am not in a position to write a musically educated concert review of blues legend Riley B. King, known to the world as B.B. King, my expenditure of $138 for two tickets permits me to sadly conclude this should be the last global tour of the “King of the Blues.”

Last night at the Hult Center in Eugene, Oregon should have been a night of celebration of a musical giant. Instead the audience quietly walked away when it became evident that after a little more than an hour the cumulative impact of 87-years young and his 20-year fight with Type II diabetes had prompted B.B. to call it quits for the evening.

bbking

Promptly at 7:30 pm PDT, the eight-piece B.B. King band started its performance of down-home Southern blues. Everyone knew the time was coming closer for the arrival of B.B. He walked out onto to the stage to a standing ovation. “Lucille,” his Gibson ES-355, was carefully placed beside his chair.

One problem: Lucille’s amplifier was kaputt. Kein Problem. B.B. sat down, smiled and introduced the members of his band, including his drummer twice. A second amplifier was brought on stage…and it didn’t work either. Did anyone bother with a sound check?

B.B. seemed to take it in stride as Amp #3 was carried on stage with his band guitarist taking the lead. Finally…after 15 minutes…we heard the first distinctive B.B. King chords. Except B.B. really wasn’t pleased with Amp#3, prompting the arrival of Amp#4.

The high-points of the night came in succession with B.B. leading the audience in singing You Are My Sunshine (encouraging the kissing of your loved one) and then his signature The Thrill is Gone…a truncated version. Soon after, B.B. King announced he was over his allotted time.

Being able to say and remember seeing “The King of the Blues” made the night worth the high price of admission. Still it was not the same as the memories of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Billy Gibbons and The Edge, all in their prime, playing before packed houses.

Age inevitably wins. No matter how hard we try (and we should), age will prevail. Watching Muhammad Ali in his last fight against Larry Holmes (it wasn’t pretty) or the Terry Bradshaw-era Pittsburgh Steelers grow old and lose a step or two all at the same time, sends a sad but certain signal that it is time to move on to the next era of life…whatever that may be.

Reportedly, B.B. King works up to 225 nights per year. He is a “doer” and a “maker” and needs to be saluted and praised. For his fans (and count me in that grouping) his YouTube videos and digital recordings are better than hearing him live. There was exhilaration from hearing the chords coming from “Lucille” for just a few minutes and then the thrill was gone.

There comes a time…I’m sorry to say, for the legend B.B. King that time has come.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.B._King

http://www.bbking.com/

http://www.biography.com/people/bb-king-9364839

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/in-celebration-of-national-diabetes-month-bb-king-tells-it-like-it-is-55482772.html

http://www.hultcenter.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Are_My_Sunshine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thrill_Is_Gone

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucille_%28guitar%29

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