ESPN is set to release its next installment of the critically acclaimed “30 for 30” documentary series with “Sole Man,” a look into the life of former sports-marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro. The documentary will air April 16 at 9 p.m.
Until the TV premiere, clips of the episode will be released online daily via Grantland.com, from April 6-10.
The film showcases Vacarro’s influence on the sneaker industry and basketball, including his role in Nike’s “Air Jordan” campaign; paying college coaches to have their teams wear Nike shoes; and promoting youth basketball via his ABCD camp, a showcase of high school ballers for pro scouts.
The now 75-year-old Vaccaro has worked for Nike, Reebok and Adidas and has brokered shoe deals for current and former NBA stars, including Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady.
Vaccaro was also a central figure in former NBA and UCLA star basketball player Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA for its use of former student-athlete images for commercial purposes. The result of the lawsuit was a ruling that the NCAA’s limits on what football and men’s basketball players are allowed to receive for playing sports is an unreasonable restraint of trade and a violation of antitrust laws.
The NCAA began its appeal of the ruling in March.
“Considering that Sonny Vaccaro’s much-debated influence on basketball has spanned five decades, played [a role] in so many defining stories within his larger narrative and touched so many huge names, like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Phil Knight, we thought this “’30 for 30′ [documentary] warranted an unprecedented rollout,” said John Dahl, executive producer and VP of ESPN Films, in a statement.