ESPN to debut ’30 for 30′ film as web series

Sole Man, which tells the story of legendary sports marketing exec Sonny Vaccaro (pictured), will premiere on as a six-part web series before it makes its TV debut.
February 6, 2015

ESPN Films is premiering one of the films in its popular ’30 for 30′ strand online, before its television debut.

Sole Man, which tells the story of legendary sports marketing exec Sonny Vaccaro (pictured), will premiere on as a six-part web series on April 6, with its television debut slated for April 16.

Vaccaro was a key player in the launch of Nike’s “Air Jordan” brand and in the 1970s and 1980s, signed basketball coaches to deals that would see players hit the court in Nike shoes – deals that would transform both the sports marketing industry and the game itself. After his stint at Nike, Vaccaro went on to Adidas, where one of the first players he signed to a similar shoe deal was an up-and-coming Kobe Bryant.

The film features interviews with coaches including Jim Boeheim, John Thompson, Larry Brown, Jim Calhoun and John Calipari, as well as NBA players past and present such as Chris Webber, Tracy McGrady, Brandon Jennings and Joakim Noah.

“Considering Sonny Vaccaro’s much-debated influence on basketball has spanned five decades, played out in so many defining stories within his larger narrative, and touched so many huge names like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Phil Knight, we thought this ’30 for 30′ warranted an unprecedented roll-out,” said ESPN Films vice president and executive producer John Dahl in a statement. “By featuring the film in a series of chapters over an entire week on in advance of the TV debut, we believe we’re giving it the kind of presentation style and weight that matches his persona and impact.”

The project, five years in the making, is exec produced by Jamie Patricof, Cash Warren and former NBA All-Star and host of Esquire Network’s How I Rock It, Baron Davis.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.