SPORTS EXECUTIVE WEEKLY has confirmed that Sonny Vaccaro, adidas director of basketball, has resigned from the company. The move furthers impacts the floundering adidas basketball program that has lost quite a bit of share to resurgent Reebok and others.
Vaccaro has figured prominently in promoting the adidas grassroots program through his own properties, the ABCD Camp in Teaneck, N.J., the Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas and the Roundball Classic, as well as his recruitment efforts at the high school and college level.
It was Vaccaro that first brought so much attention to LeBron James, signing his high school team to an adidas product deal. Adidas was thought to be the front runner in the LBJ sweepstakes once he turned pro, but the company faded quickly under the big guns from Reebok and the eventually winner, Nike.
One adidas insider we spoke with reflected much of the sentiment of the organization when he said, “Why stick around if the company cant come up with the cash to support your efforts?”
Speculation has him looking at Reebok as a next stop, with the brand investing heavily in its basketball programs, but reports last week also indicated that Vaccaro needed to pull back to spend time with his wife Pam, who has been sick.
He said he won't change his involvement in summer basketball or with high school players. Vaccaro said all summer league teams signed three-year deals with adidas prior to this summer and those will still stand.
In addition to Vaccaro, David Orr is now at Pony and Reebok recently tapped Bruce Fendell to head sales at the On-field apparel unit.
>>> Word on the street — and at MAGIC — was that more middle management — and perhaps even some more senior folks — will be bailing out at adidas America