University of Oregon

Swoosh of success: Nike helps Oregon on trip to Final Four

It's one thing to have Nike as a sponsor. It's quite another to have the owner of Nike as your No. 1 fan.

After a 78-year absence from college basketball's biggest stage, Oregon is at the Final Four this week. For a good deal of this success, the Ducks can thank Nike's billionaire owner, Phil Knight — the man who keeps the money flowing into the hoops program, and all the rest of the sports, too.

One of Knight's most recent, and benevolent, gifts to Oregon was a $100 million donation to help fund the school's opulent basketball arena, named after Knight's late son, Matthew.

"Phil Knight and Nike have essentially created a lab at the University of Oregon,"...