It was Vaccaro who advised agents during the ABA-NBA wars of the 1970s, who launched Nike's "Air Jordan" empire in the 1980s, and who ushered in the professionalization of youth basketball in the 1990s, when players such as Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady, both of whom signed shoe deals brokered by Vaccaro, turned high school games into auditions for the NBA.
"Sole Man" is a definitive, first-hand and unflinching account of how Vaccaro rose from humble Pennsylvania steel town roots to become the most valuable marketing asset in the $13 billion athletic shoe industry. Vaccaro's personal arc mirrors the narrative of basketball's ascent over the last 40 years. It is an era in which James Naismith's creation morphed from a regional game tainted by segregation and gambling into a global enterprise that stretches from Brooklyn to Beijing. And to a staggering degree, the basketball community is really just Six Degrees of Sonny.