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The Jordan Brand Classic and the first Nike EYBL session will be held in New York April 15-17, the same weekend that Under Armour will hold its initial session on the grassroots circuit.
The Jordan Brand Classic and the first Nike EYBL session will be held in New York April 15-17, the same weekend that Under Armour will hold its initial session on the grassroots circuit.

NEW YORK -- The Sneaker Wars are coming to New York.

In the latest battle between the two shoe companies, Nike and Under Armour both announced this week that they will hold their initial grassroots sessions in the Big Apple the weekend of April 15-17.

"This is the final battle on that front. Let's see where they come, let's see where they go," grassroots basketball legend Sonny Vaccaro, who signed Michael Jordan to his first Nike deal and Kobe Bryant to his first adidas deal, told me Thursday by phone from his home in California. "There's not that much further that they can go."

Tags: Recruiting, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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AVALON, N.J. -- When it comes to the July recruiting period, the Wild West days of Sonny Vaccaro vs. George Raveling are gone.

Long gone.

"You can never say never," said Gary Charles, the head coach of the New York Panthers and a Vaccaro lieutenant from 1992-2006, when Vaccaro hung up his kicks and retired .

Tags: Articles, LeBron James, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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New York City has now lost the Jordan Classic, the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event and the ABCD Camp within the span of four years ? and needs a big-time high school event to restore its prominence on the grassroots circuit.

To review:

**Nike moved the Jordan Classic to North Carolina for April 2011 because of the ongoing renovation at Madison Square Garden.

Tags: Grassroots, Sonny Vaccaro, Sports Business, Adam Zagoria
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Sonny Vaccaro, the grassroots sneaker guru who signed Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to multi-million dollar shoe deals, expects to make a decision about his future plans within weeks.

"I have had discussions with two of the companies," Vaccaro, 71, said Monday by phone from California. "I have one more left and then a decision will be made. Pam and I see it happening no later than the middle of November."

Vaccaro declined to name the companies with whom he has met, but sources said one is Chinese apparel manufacturer Li Ning.

Tags: Articles, Sonny Vaccaro, Sports Business, Adam Zagoria
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Sonny Vaccaro, once the most powerful man in grassroots basketball, is poised to return to the summer scene and possibly partner with Chinese apparel manufacturer Li Ning.

Vaccaro, who turns 71 Thursday, declined to mention specific potential partners, but says he has appointments Monday with ?people who would like to get totally involved.?

?I believe there are going to be opportunities for me to be involved in things next summer,? Vaccaro said Wednesday night by phone from his home in Carmel, Calif. ?I don?t know exactly if I will do them or how I?ll do them, but I do know there?s a lot of interest and I?m going to listen.?

Tags: Articles, Grassroots, LeBron James, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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Grassroots basketball will undergo some major changes again this summer.

Reebok will not hold its annual Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia in July because of a "change in marketing strategy at the grassroots level," said a source with direct knowledge.

"It just means that college coaches will have to work a little harder to see high-level talent play against high-level talent under one roof, "? the source said.

Tags: Grassroots, High Schools, LeBron James, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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Jeremy Tyler, the 6-foot-11 high school senior out of San Diego High, will likely sign a contract next week with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League

"They're the favorites," Sonny Vaccaro, who is advising Tyler, said by phone. "It looks like Jeremy Tyler is going to end up with Maccabi Haifa. It's 90 percent done.

"The contract has not been signed yet. As soon as they do the faxes back and forth, it should be done Tuesday or Wednesday."

Tags: Americans in Europe, Big East, Rutgers, Sonny Vaccaro, USC, Adam Zagoria
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NEPTUNE, N.J. -- A little while back, a Division 1 coach from an East Coast school received a telephone call that caused him to perk up just a little bit more than usual.

"I received a call asking if I was interested in a player and the call did not come from his high school coach or AAU coach, but rather from an agent," the coach recalled.

The coach says he ultimately turned the player down, but the call reveals an inside glimpse into how college basketball really works.

Tags: John Wall, Lance Stephenson, NBA Agents, Sonny Vaccaro, USC, Adam Zagoria
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Sonny Vaccaro will be honored in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

The Grassroots Basketball of America (GBOA) Hall of Fame announcement will be held at the Palms Hotel and Vaccaro will be given the organization's Grassroots?Pioneer Award.

Grassroots legends Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Stephon Marbury, Chauncey Billups, Sharief Abdul-Rahim, Rafer Alston, Felipe Lopez and Tim Thomas will also be honored

Tags: Americans in Europe, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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Darryl Bryant, a West Virginia guard and Brooklyn native who starred at St. Raymond's in The Bronx, has been suspended indefinitely.

Bryant was suspended because of his involvement in a traffic accident outside of Morgantown early Wednesday, after which he left the scene, according to the Charleston Gazette. He was charged with four misdemeanors, including leaving the scene of an accident. No one was injured in the accident and Bryant is free on bond.

Coach Bob Huggins didn't specify Bryant's violation in announcing the suspension Wednesday. Huggins didn't respond to a text message seeking comment.

Tags: Florida International, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Michael Gilchrist, N.C. State, North Carolina, Oak Hill Academy, Oklahoma, Paterson Catholic, Sonny Vaccaro, St. Patrick, Texas, UConn, West Virginia, Adam Zagoria
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The Knicks will continue their search for a point guard on Monday when they work out Memphis freshman Tyreke Evans and California native Brandon Jennings at their Westchester campus.

Louisville junior forward Earl Clark of Rahway, N.J. will also work out for head coach Mike D'Antoni, as will UConn senior guard Craig Austrie and Gonzaga sophomore forward Austin Daye.

The Knicks hold the No. 8 pick in the June 25 NBA Draft and have already worked out the following point guards: Levance Fields of Pittsburgh, Jonny Flynn of Syracuse, Ty Lawson of North CArolina, Steph Curry of Davidson and Jrue Holiday of UCLA.

Tags: Americans in Europe, Louisville, Memphis, NBA Draft, Old Knicks, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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Jeremy Tyler will work out later this week in Los Angeles for Maccabi Haifa Heat of the Israeli pro league.

"He's working out and people are coming in to see him," said grassroots basketball guru Sonny Vaccaro, who will broker Tyler's pro deal. "The Israeli team Haifa are going to be in Thursday and Friday to interview Jeremy and work him out."

The 6-foot-11 Tyler initially committed to Louisville but then? announced he would skip his senior year of high school to play professionally for two years before entering the 2011 NBA Draft.

Tags: Americans in Europe, John Wall, Kentucky, Lance Stephenson, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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Sonny Vaccaro has served as an advisor to Lance Stephenson and his family during the recruiting process and even?the?Godfather of Grassroots Basketball?is mystified by this particular?recruitment.

Vaccaro said during a recent? interview with a Memphis radio station that he initially thought Memphis would land the 6-foot-5 Stephenson, but now he is uncertain.

"For some reason his family can't make this decision," Vaccaro said. "Last week at this time?I would've thought he was going?to Memphis. That was the last time?I talked to 'Stretch,' that's his dad. He?texted me and said they're interested in another school right now."

Tags: Americans in Europe, Arizona, Lance Stephenson, Memphis, Siena, Sonny Vaccaro, St. Joe's, UNLV, Adam Zagoria
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One of the more intriguing questions during the spring travel team season is not what school Lance Stephenson or John Wall will sign with, but what does Chris Rivers' move back to adidas mean for the grassroots circuit?

Rivers (pictured at left above with O.J. Mayo)? is currently the Director of Basketball at Reebok and directs the Reebok All-American Camp in Philly, formerly the ABCD Camp run by Sonny Vaccaro. Now sources say he is preparing for a return to adidas sometime next month.? Rivers left adidas for Reebok in 2003.

Rivers' exact role is not clear, but in an unrelated move Daren Kalish, head of adidas Grassroots Basketball, has recently resigned to pursue a profession outside of the shoe industry, which definitely raises questions about whether Rivers will return to his old post.

Tags: Grassroots, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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In perhaps the most significant development on the basketball front since Kevin Garnett jumped from high school to the pros in 1995, Jeremy Tyler announced that he will skip his senior year -- of high school -- to play professionally in Europe.

?This is what I want to do,? Tyler, a 6-foot-10 17-year-old from San Diego told The New York Times. ?It will help me get better and grow up.?

Projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Tyler had initially committed to Louisville but instead will play in Europe for the next two years to improve his level of play and maturity.

Tags: Baylor, John Wall, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Manhattan, Memphis, Seton Hall, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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In an interview with Bryant Gumbel that will be broadcast Tuesday night on HBO's "Real Sports," Brandon Jennings says playing ball in Italy is not quite like being in hell. But being in college would be.

Bryant Gumbel:? ?Do you view this as purgatory??? A place you got to go to because you weren?t? allowed into heaven, which is the NBA??

Brandon Jennings: ?I guess.?

Tags: Americans in Europe, Brandon Jennings, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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NEW YORK -- Lance Stephenson plays basketball in Nike Air Jordans and competes for an Adidas-sponsored program at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn.

Yet it is Stephenson's association with Under Armour, a Baltimore-based sports apparel company trying to become a player in the high-stakes world of grassroots basketball, that has drawn the most scrutiny in recent weeks.

The University of Maryland is investigating potential NCAA violations connected to Stephenson's official visit in January to its campus and the nearby Under Armour facilities.

Tags: Kansas, Lance Stephenson, Lincoln High School, Maryland, Sonny Vaccaro, St. John's, Adam Zagoria
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Here's an email I received from former sneaker guru Sonny Vaccaro, who has been supporting Barack Obama's campaign. I thought I would pass it along to all of ZAGSBLOG'S readers...

Tuesday, November 4th will be one of the most important days in any of our lives as citizens and voters of the United States of America.

I am writing to you as a friend, an acquaintance or someone that you've worked with over the years in some capacity. I have been lucky to be involved with good people like you from various walks of life and I feel at this moment that it is important for me to reach out to you now.
This election is something I honestly didn't think would happen in America in my lifetime but deep down believed someday it could....and I am filled with great hope that the realization of the "Impossible Dream" is at hand with the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America.
The position of President of the United States of America is one that leads the people and gives the people hope to have dreams. Not the whimsical dreams that we have as a child but the real dreams, the ones we have inside our being that sometimes we don't share with anyone else, these are the real dreams we harbor and pray for.
Barack Obama's life is the real dream happening. He is the person who can reach the "unreachable star".
I believe Barack has the qualities to represent the whole of the individual from the disenfranchised to people who have beliefs that differ from others - regardless of the color of their skin. He gives us a chance to make our real dreams a reality.
Please join me, reach out even if it's just to one other person, or 5, 10, 20 or 100 of your friends and urge them to get to the polls and make their votes count. Call somebody, email somebody or drive somebody to the polls.
The most powerful waves begin as a single drop - each vote on November 4th is a single drop. Let's create the wave we need to win.
God Bless you and God Bless America,
Sonny
Tags: Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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Lance Stephenson could face disciplinary action from Lincoln High School as a result of his recent arrest.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Stephenson was arrested earlier this month and charged with a Class B misdemeanor for allegedly groping a 17-year-old girl on school grounds.

"Disciplinary action is pending the police investigation," Margie Feinberg, a Department of Education spokesman, said Tuesday by phone. "We are working with the police. There is no timeframe."

Tags: Dominic Cheek, High Schools, Kansas, Lance Stephenson, Memphis, Sonny Vaccaro, St. John's, UCLA, USC, Villanova, Adam Zagoria
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By ADAM ZAGORIA

Herald News

NEW YORK ? Sonny Vaccaro has a new mission.

Tags: NBA, Sonny Vaccaro, Adam Zagoria
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