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30 for 30: ‘Sole Man,’ Chapter 5 — The LeBron Affair

Electric City Entertainment

30 for 30: ‘Sole Man,’ Chapter 4 — There Are Victims Here

In the fourth chapter of the latest 30 for 30, ‘Sole Man,’ we learn how Sonny Vaccaro and a former friend started a bidding war between Nike and Adidas. From the divergent perspectives of Tracy McGrady and Lenny Cooke, we learn what the war has done to America’s top young talent.

It was a cutthroat, lucrative, and often corrupt culture that Sonny Vaccaro and his sneaker company competitors created during the ’90s and early ’00s, when Adidas, Nike, Reebok, and others zealously sought to find “the next Michael Jordan.” With Vaccaro at Adidas and his former best friend George Raveling running grassroots basketball at Nike, the battle for talent turned into a deeply personal and all-consuming crusade that affected players, coaches, and executives at all levels of the industry. 

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Chapter 1: “How Sonny Became Sonny”
Chapter 2: “The Jordan Effect”
Chapter 3: “Kobe and the Gunslinger”

Visit Grantland every day this week for a new chapter of Sole Man. Sole Man will make its prime-time television debut on Thursday, April 16, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Filed Under: 30 For 30, Video, ESPN Films, Sole Man, Sonny Vaccaro, Nike, Adidas