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Michael Jordan to present Phil Knight at 2012 Naismith Hall of Fame ceremony

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
Nike co-founder Phil Knight is Hall of Fame bound. (Getty Images)

Being welcomed to an exclusive club by its most celebrated member. It doesn't get much better than that.

Nike founder Phil Knight will be presented by Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan when he is inducted as a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's class of 2012, according to NBA.com. Longtime Georgetown coach John Thompson will join Jordan in presenting Knight.

Hall of Famer newcomers can only be presented by current members. Jordan, who was inducted in 2009, chose David Thompson as his presenter. Presenters aren't required to give a speech; Rather, they stand on stage as the inductee gives his.

Knight, 74, is Nike's co-founder and Chairman of the Board. A passionate sports fan, Knight is being inducted to the Hall of Fame as a "contributor" due to his relationship with numerous NBA players -- including Jordan, Charles Barkley, LeBron James and countless others -- as well as his role in helping grow the game globally. Forbes.com estimated his net worth at $14.4 billion in March 2012, making him one of the world's fifty richest people.

Knight and Jordan have been linked for the better part of three decades. Jordan, of course, was the shoe and apparel company's most famous celebrity endorser. Nike first signed Jordan in 1984 and his "Air Jordan" sneakers, with their iconic "Jumpman" logo, quickly became the most coveted basketball shoes on the market. Jordan Brand eventually became its own subsidiary under the Nike umbrella; together, Nike and Jordan now represent roughly 95 percent of the basketball shoe market, according to ESPN.com.

Jordan will be one of a number of big name NBA stars to serve as a presenter at this year's ceremonies, according to the full list published by NBA.com. Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley will both present Reggie Miller, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving will present Ralph Sampson, and Earl Monroe and Isiah Thomas will present Chet Walker, among others. For a full list of this year's inductees, click here.

Knight, Miller, Sampson, Walker and the rest of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's 2012 class will be inducted on September 7.

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