Those who knew the in-depth history of the signing of Michael Jordan By Nike in 1984 they were somewhat disappointed last Sunday in the broadcast of “The Last Dance”, when one of the key men for such an agreement to be carried out was totally ignored and ignored. We talk about Sonny Vaccaro, former coach and consultant of Nike at that time, who had a fundamental role.
According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, Vaccaro was instrumental in selling Nike not only the idea of launching a line of exclusive single-player sneakers, but also in persuading a company that specialized in athletic footwear to go for basketball. As if that were not enough, Vaccaro insisted that they choose the number 3 of that draft, who had not yet debuted over any established star in the league.
#Nike was not a company dedicated to basketball. It was just starting when, thanks to Sonny Vaccaro, he convinced #MJ (he wanted to sign with Adidas). What did he offer you? 15 million x 5 year contract, a line of sneakers with his name and he was guaranteed royalties, 25% for each pair sold. pic.twitter.com/w78WrhmhIE
– Julian Mozo (@JulianMozo) April 25, 2020
Even Vaccaro put his job at risk by insisting on investing all of the company’s money in Jordan over any other player. When he obtained permission from the company, his mission was to be an intermediary with Jordan, whom he first invited to eat before the 1984 Olympics, making a great impression. Then he did the same with MJ’s agent, David Falk, to whom he sold the idea that Jordan receive a percentage of money per shoe sold, something unique at that time.
Despite having a somewhat turbulent record, Vaccaro was also the first link for other stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James with shoe companies, demonstrating a unique eye for detecting which talents might be the best commercially. Despite being interviewed for “The Last Dance”, his testimony was not issued nor does he appear to be. It is one more of the omissions that the documentary of the moment presents.