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

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • VT1994Hokie Aug 15, 2009

    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.

Listen & Watch
  • HighSchoolOT Live

    Friday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-2

  • Football Friday

    Friday at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC Football: Pittsburgh @ Duke

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • College Football: Southern Cal @ Notre Dame

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL Soccer: San Francisco @ North Carolina FC

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • The Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • Motor Sports: Formula 1 Racing - Austin

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Atlanta @ New England

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL Football Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

    Sunday at 12:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL Football Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers

    Sunday at 5:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB Playoffs Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers Game 7 (if necessary)

    Sunday at 6:30 pm on 95.7 The Ticket

  • NFL Football Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots

    Sunday at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

AP Top 25
Thu, Oct 19
25
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
Sat, Oct 21
10
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
5
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
1
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
8
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
18
20
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
14
9
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
16
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
24
4:15 PT5:15 MT6:15 CT7:15 ET11:15 GMT7:15 北京时间4:15 MST6:15 EST
Preview
21
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
11
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
13
19
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
2
23
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
4
7:45 PT8:45 MT9:45 CT10:45 ET2:45 GMT10:45 北京时间7:45 MST9:45 EST
Preview
15
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Oct. 19
Kansas City 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET0:25 GMT8:25 5:25 MST7:25 EST7:25 CT4:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Oakland 
Sunday, Oct. 22
Tampa Bay 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Buffalo 
Carolina 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Chicago 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Cleveland 
New Orleans 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Green Bay 
Jacksonville 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Indianapolis 
Arizona 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
LA Rams 
NY Jets 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Miami 
Baltimore 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Minnesota 
Dallas 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
San Francisco 
Denver 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
LA Chargers 
Seattle 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
NY Giants 
Cincinnati 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Pittsburgh 
Atlanta 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
New England 
Monday, Oct. 23
Washington 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Philadelphia 
NBA Scoreboard
Charlotte364:25
2nd Qtr
Detroit49
Brooklyn484:17
2nd Qtr
Indiana55
Miami456:37
2nd Qtr
Orlando40
Philadelphia455:17
2nd Qtr
Washington46
Milwaukee173:30
1st Qtr
Boston19
New Orleans 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Memphis 
Atlanta 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Dallas 
Denver 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Utah 
Minnesota 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)03:3021:30 ET8:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
San Antonio 
Portland 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Phoenix 
Houston 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Sacramento 
NHL Scoreboard
Detroit011:04
1st
Toronto2
Chicago 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
St. Louis 
Montreal 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Los Angeles 
MLB Scoreboard
American League
Houston0Bot
7th
NY Yankees5
National League
LA Dodgers 6:01 PT7:01 MT8:01 CT9:01 ET21:01 ET1:01 GMT9:01 6:01 MST8:01 EST8:31 VEN5:01 UAE (+1)8:01 CT
Preview
Chi Cubs 
Minor League Baseball
International League
Memphis 4:07 PT5:07 MT6:07 CT7:07 ET12:07 GMT
Durham 
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Oct. 18
Intrum Stockholm Open (ATP)
First Round
P. Herbert2 6 3   
J. Janowicz6 3 6   
M. Copil77 4 612   
J. Struff62 6 714   
V. Troicki6 6    
S. Bolelli3 3    
(5) M. Zverev1 7 6   
M. Ymer6 5 4   
Second Round
(8) F. Verdasco6 6    
J. Zopp4 2    
(6) F. Fognini6 3 79   
E. Ymer4 6 67   
(3) J. Sock6 6    
J. Chardy4 4    
 
European Open (ATP)
First Round
C. Stebe6 4 0   
S. Darcis4 6 1   
Second Round
J. Sousa5 6 6   
S. Stakhovsky7 4 4   
H. Laaksonen1 1    
J. Benneteau6 6    
(3) N. Kyrgios77 3 3   
R. Bemelmans63 6 6   
 
Kremlin Cup (ATP/WTA)
First Round
M. Basic3 6 5   
B. Kavcic6 3 1   
A. Kuznetsov4 6 66   
D. Medvedev6 2 78   
Second Round
D. Sela7 6    
R. Dutra Silv5 1    
(6) D. Dzumhur4 7 6   
Y. Bhambri6 5 4   
(3) A. Mannarino6 77    
L. Rosol3 64    
(4) P. Kohlschrei77 61 3   
A. Seppi64 77 6   
 
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Oct. 18
BGL Luxembourg Open (WTA)
Second Round
(5) E. Mertens6 0 6   
M. Brengle2 6 3   
(3) A. Kontaveit4 4    
H. Watson6 6    
C. Witthoeft6 6    
E. Rodina2 3    
(7) B. Haddad Mai6 65 2   
J. Larsson3 77 6   
P. Parmentier7 6    
V. Cepede Roy5 1    
(2) K. Bertens6 2    
A. Petkovic2 1    
S. Lisicki6 5 3   
N. Broady4 7 6   
M. Puig77 77    
A. Van Uytvan62 61    
 
Kremlin Cup (ATP/WTA)
Second Round
(7) J. Goerges6 6    
Y. Putintseva3 3    
(2) C. Vandeweghe5 6 2   
L. Tsurenko7 1 6   
(4) A. Sevastova4 3    
I. Begu6 6    
(1) K. Mladenovic2 6 2   
A. Sasnovich6 2 6   
K. Siniakova2 3    
D. Kasatkina6 6    
(6) D. Gavrilova3 1    
V. Lapko6 3    
(8) M. Rybarikova1 0    
A. Cornet6 0    
(3) E. Vesnina63 4    
N. Vikhlyants77 6