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30 for 30: ‘Sole Man,’ Chapter 2 — The Jordan Effect

In the second chapter of the latest 30 for 30, ‘Sole Man,’ we learn how Sonny Vaccaro helped Nike build a marketing empire in 1984 when he encouraged the company to take a chance on a young Michael Jordan as its signature athlete. What followed would revolutionize the commercialization of youth athletics.

In 1984, Sonny Vaccaro and Nike executives plotted a strategy to get into the world of pro basketball. How they ended up signing Michael Jordan and launching the Air Jordan brand is a Hollywood story that features secret phone calls, a six-figure check, a mansion in Oregon, and a plate of ribs at a Tony Roma’s restaurant in Santa Monica. 

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Chapter 1: “How Sonny Became Sonny”

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, Sole Man, Nike, Michael Jordan, Sonny Vaccaro, ESPN Films