banner
Brad Simmons

Sonny Vaccaro: Basketball Ambassador or Villain

Posted August 13, 2009

Depending on whom you ask, Sonny Vaccaro could be the greatest basketball ambassador of our era or he could be the problem with basketball in today’s society.

He is probably best known for his time at Nike, where he helped Phil Knight build the shoe company into one of the world’s most powerful companies.

Vaccaro signed Michael Jordan to Nike. Most people would call that a career.

His marketing genius helped jump start outfitting college and university teams into the multi-million dollar business it is today.

You could count Jim Valvano as one of the first coaches to buy into Vaccaro and Nike with much success. Well, there was the unitard, and we all know how that turned out.

Regardless, his time at Nike could be as great a run in business this side of Microsoft.

After an unceremonious split with Nike, he moved on to Adidas where he was instrumental in landing Kobe Bryant as a client. Not too many people can claim both Jordan and Bryant as clients.

He formed the ABCD basketball camp that showcases the top high school players in the country and has turned AAU hoops into the super highway to Division I basketball.

After leaving Adidas for Reebok, he continued his influence with grassroots basketball, helping youth players with advancement in the game.

He has worked with the three largest shoe companies in the world and flourished in all of them. He has been called the most influential man in amateur basketball.

It seemed everything he touched turned to gold.

As big as the ABCD camps, AAU and grassroots basketball has gotten, though their intentions may have been genuine, the reality is they have tested the rules of amateur basketball.

Many view the above mentioned basketball machines as corrupt and any player involved in them have tiptoed the line of eligibility with the NCAA, which has had a long standing battle with Vaccaro.

Most of the basketball players making the jump from high school to the NBA have crossed paths with Vaccaro. Now that the NBA has established an age limit, albeit just one year between high school and the NBA, Vaccaro again is pushing the envelope to get these talented players on professional teams. He was instrumental is getting Brandon Jennings a pro contract overseas for a year until he was eligible for the NBA draft. He also has advised prep underclassman Jeremy Tyler to forgo his final year of high school for the professional ranks.

Most players who have been advised by Sonny Vaccaro stand by him obviously for giving them an avenue to succeed, but others including the NCAA see him as everything that is wrong with basketball.

There may not be another figure in sports that reaches both sides of the public opinion spectrum quite like Sonny Vaccaro.

1 Comment

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Newest First
View all
  • Hokies94 Aug 15, 6:33 p.m.

    Never heard of him. But, he does know how to make money. If he got the Nike deal for MJ, I say he is pretty damm smart. Villian. Look at our politicians.

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tonight at 11:35 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at UNC

    Tomorrow at 12:58 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Mississippi State at Ole Miss

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at Baltimore

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Millbrook at Wake Forest

    Tonight at 7:30 on 620am

  • CFB: NC State at UNC

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
1st
NCSU 8
BSU 7
 
1st
PIT 0
CAR 0
 
1st
CHA 10
GSW 11
 
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
1st
CHA 10
GSW 11
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
DET
MIL
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
NOP
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
LAC
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
NYK
8:00pm Tonight
IND
ORL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
 
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
 
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
8:00pm Tonight
VT
UVA
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 56
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
 
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
 
Final
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
 
2nd
FSU 34
CSOU 22
 
2nd
VALPO 47
DRAK 26
 
2nd
CIN 50
MTST 28
 
2nd
SDU 51
PRIN 42
 
Half
WASU 39
RICE 33
 
Half
CSFU 36
USCU 33
 
1st
GT 25
RIDE 22
 
1st
TXPA 21
ALAST 19
 
1st
NCSU 8
BSU 7
 
1st
TCU 4
BRAD 4
 
1st
WAKE 19
DELST 15
 
1st
HART 13
EMERSON 5
 
1st
STJ 7
GONZ 6
 
1st
CLEM 11
HIGH 5
 
1st
SYR 6
HC 6
 
1st
MD 19
MON 10
 
1st
JVST 16
SAV 8
 
1st
MIAMI 17
SALA 0
 
1st
RUTG 14
VANDY 12
 
7:30pm Tonight
PETE
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
CLST
8:00pm Tonight
JST
HOF
 
8:00pm Tonight
INDST
MEM
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SAMF
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
TENNM
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
3rd
WAS 4
NYI 2
 
1st
PIT 0
CAR 0
 
1st
NJD 1
DET 1
 
1st
BUF 1
MON 0
 
1st
CLB 0
VAN 0
 
1st
BOS 0
WIN 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
OTT
8:00pm Tonight
STL
EDM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN