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According To Michael Jordan, Sonny Vaccaro Doesn’t Deserve Credit For The Legendary Nike Deal

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ESPN’s 30 for 30 series has brought to a light a number of sports-related stories that have gone untold and understood for years. One of the most relevant to our circles is without question the “Sole Man” piece that was led by Sonny Vaccaro, who credits himself for Michael Jordan’s original deal with Nike. It’s been long since publicized that MJ had no interest with signing with the Swoosh and that his preferences for adidas and Converse were well known, and after Sole Man went on air, it was clear that Sonny was responsible for convincing the future legend into joining forces with a brand he really didn’t want much to do with.

Earlier today, USA Today sat down with Phil Knight to discuss a wide array of topics that ranged from Under Armour, his favorite Nike advertisement, and of course Michael Jordan. Knight says that Tinker Hatfield was the “MVP” of Jordan’s first deal, but he was only around after the first two shoes. That statement doesn’t discredit Sonny at all, but an update from USA Today from Michael Jordan himself says otherwise. It was George Raveling and later Rob Strasser who put him on Nike in the first place. Sole Man (which can all be recapped in this summary) isn’t without merit because MJ and everyone else on Nike’s side of things isn’t really going out of their way to credit the most influential move in sneaker industry history to a guy who hasn’t been with the brand for decades. Read the full piece on USA Today to get the full breadth of info.

Excerpt from USA Today:

“Prior to all of that, Sonny (Vaccaro) likes to take the credit. But it really wasn’t Sonny, it was actually George Raveling. George Raveling was with me on the 1984 Olympics team (as an assistant coach under Bob Knight). He used to always try to talk to me, ‘You gotta go Nike, you gotta go Nike. You’ve got to try.’