Phil Knight started a running shoe company in 1965 called “Blue Ribbon Sports”. In 1971 Blue Ribbon renamed it self after the Greek goddess of Victory “Nike”. Along with the name change the company wanted to expand it’s horizons beyond track into other more popular sports. One sport in particular that they had their eye on was basketball.
In 1973 the still new company approached one of the most promising young talents in the NBA, Spencer Haywood. Nike wanted to make him their first star basketball endorser. Short on cash, they gave him two endorsement deal options. Either $100,000 or 10% ownership in the company which today would have netted him $8 billion dollars. His agent discouraged him from entertaining the ownership option and as a result he took the 100k.
Video of Spencer Haywood speaking on Nike deal: