I have to admit -- I've never really considered investing in Nike (NYSE:NKE) before. When a firm has over a dozen analysts tracking its every move, it just doesn't seem there'd be a whole lot of opportunity for a simple Fool like me to spot something that the Wall Street "Wise" might miss (i.e., to realize when it's time to buy when Wall Street won't).

Ordinarily, I'm more inclined to seek out a smaller firm, one with fewer analysts following it. Wolverine (NYSE:WWW) for instance. Or Reebok (NYSE:RBK), which garners about half the analyst coverage that's accorded to Nike. Even better would be a smaller shop such as Motley Fool Hidden Gems watchlist stock K-Swiss (NASDAQ:KSWS), or former Hidden Gems recommendation Saucony (which was recently bought out by Stride Rite (NYSE:SRR), an underfollowed firm in its own right). And let's not forget current Hidden Gems recommendation Deckers (NASDAQ:DECK). It's a little on the heavy side, with eight analysts' worth of coverage (not including Oprah), but I own it nonetheless.

So why am I looking at Nike now? Well, two reasons come to mind, and they're closely related. First, of course, is the company's upcoming report on its fiscal second-quarter 2006 earnings, due tomorrow after market close. Whenever a company announces earnings, it's bound to get me thinking about it. Second, in reviewing the company's past SEC filings while preparing this column, I noticed something: Nike does right by its shareholders.

Most "name brand" companies these days hold analyst conference calls and allow ordinary shareholders like you and me to listen in. But few of those companies make it easy for people with -- what's the word? Ah, yes: "lives" -- to find out what was said on those calls if they happened to be at -- what's that other word? Ah, yes: "jobs" -- when the call happens.

But Nike is one of the few firms that actually pays to get its conference calls typed up and submitted to the SEC for easy access by investors both large and small. You can find the most recent call right here, for instance.

Little efforts like that one can help a small investor rest easy. Tomorrow, the 17 analysts who follow the company will be all absorbed in analyzing whether Nike met its earnings estimates for the quarter ($1.03 per diluted share, if you're counting). The rest of us Fools can relax, secure in the knowledge that this company will do right by its owners over the long haul, however its quarters might ebb and flow.

For more recent Foolishness on Nike, read:

Fools, now is the time to open your hearts and wallets to worthy causes! Please support our five Foolish charities at www.foolanthropy.com .

Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Deckers. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.