Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sonny Vaccaro退出籃球圈

被喻為美國高中和大學籃壇教父的Sonny Vaccaro,最近決定淡出球鞋圈了。Vaccaro在美國籃壇一向是個爭議性十足的人物,好壞評價兩極化。有人說他一手創造了當今美國球鞋界的business model,也有人說他搞爛了美國籃球。

Vaccaro出身Nike,1984年就是他力主Nike簽下Michael Jordan,進而創造出Nike和MJ在球鞋市場上的豐功偉業。但後來他陸續轉檯,待過adidas、Reebok,能夠週旋於三大品牌之間,功力自然不可凡響。

出身匹茲堡的Vaccaro,靠著主辦高中明星賽Roundball Classic起家,算是第一個有系統發掘高中籃球明星,同時在他們和球鞋廠商、大學之間"牽猴",發揮影響力。他始終堅稱,他所作的一切都是為了孩子好,從沒有傷害過任何一個球員,他只是以球員利益為出發點,讓貧窮的孩子能過好日子,到好學校接受好教練指導,進職業賺錢。

Hanging 'em up
Sonny Vaccaro, the pioneering and controversial shoe company executive who created and then fueled amateur summer basketball and signed many of the game's greatest stars – including Michael Jordan – to endorsement contracts, is retiring from the shoe business.

Sonny Vaccaro leaving hoops behind
"I'm not retiring," said the outspoken 67-year-old. "I don't need a eulogy and I don't need an epitaph.

"Now I'm Sonny Vaccaro the individual, not Sonny Vaccaro with a shoe company. I don't know if I can change anything, but I know I can get an audience."

然而,由Vaccaro催化的這一個體系,卻無形中徹底改變了現代年輕球員的想法。V老帶動的,是媒體和球探、球鞋廠商對年輕球員的提前過度吹捧,造成各種recruiting service甚至有針對國中、小球員的全美排名!這些小朋友為什麼會患上大頭症和不切實際的幻想,原因也就不難想像了。

Has Sonny Vaccaro Destroyed American Basketball?
by Brian McCormick, CSCS
Director, High Five Hoop School, Sacramento, CA

Sonny Vaccaro destroyed American basketball. In the United States' hyper-driven society, what's now is no longer as important as what's next, and Vaccaro, a brilliant businessman, capitalized on this cultural attitude to build his sports empire at the expense of American basketball development. The founder of the "shoe camps" and the one who in 2005 bragged about being the first to pay AAU coaches in 1991, Vaccaro's fortunes rest on exploiting and exposing the basketball youth. His business acumen led directly to ranking services which rank players at younger and younger ages (Have you seen the list of the top players in the high school class of 2013? Seriously.), the proliferation of shoe camps, the shoe-sponsored AAU programs which pilfer precocious players from ordinary youth teams and leagues and an entire generation of players who grow up with an Entitlement Affliction because they are treated like stars and mini-celebrities from the time they are ten years old. A seventeen year old like OJ Mayo has been in the public eye at least since he was in 7th grade and walks the streets with an entourage, while being part of a bidding war which Vaccaro promised to win in an October article with ESPN's Pat Forde. A college coach recently complained about not being able to reach a local girl player-Vicky Baugh-because of her "people."


Roland Lazenby Talks About Sonny Vaccaro
In the last few weeks, I have been hearing more and more stories about how certain players end up at certain universities and with certain agents. It's all fascinating stuff about which we generally get to know very little.

And Sonny Vaccaro has long been part of it. In fact, in many ways, he invented the business model that is American basketball development.

另一篇文章:Is Sonny Vaccaro good for Basketball?