I was checking out some basketball sites and TrueHoop.com had a great article by Brian McCormick (the director of High Five Hoop School in California). McCormick starts off his column by writing, “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.”
The rest of the article is just as powerful and is a must-read for any hoops fan. Check out the full article by clicking here.