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Gandolfini / Vaccaro: There Is No Retiring From This

Don't Mess With The FamilySad that The Sopranos is over? Upset that you will never be able to see Tony Soprano on HBO followed by Johnny Drama and Ari Gold? Turn that frown upside down, because James Gandolfini is coming back to HBO…in the form of a sports agent? Gandolfini will be playing Sonny Vaccaro in ABCD Camp [Gandolfini’s Next Gig Easy as ABCD].

Sonny Vaccaro is known for aiding names like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James ink big endorsements with sponsors like Nike and adidas. Instead of focusing on that side of Vaccaro, the drama will take a deep look into the ABCD Camp that he established.

Outside of the movie/entertainment world, the ABCD Camp is a true entity. It is sponsored by Reebok and claims to be “America’s #1 Elite Basketball Camp.” The camp has been around for 23 years, but mysteriously was not in operation this past July. An update from Sonny Vaccaro insists that “the ABCD Camp adventure hasn’t ended, it is simply refining the concept for the future.” Yahoo! claims that Vaccaro has called it quits and will retire from the sports shoe business, but that remains to be seen [Hangin ’em up]. Would that also mean that his relationship with Arn Tellem has also ended? For those wondering how Tellem is still so successful in recruiting talent, look no further than his buddy, Vaccaro. If Vaccaro is now out of the game, that should mean that William Wesley will have even more influence in the industry.

Whoever casted Gandolfini for the role of Vaccaro definitely did his/her research. Looking back to an ESPN The Magazine article by Ric Bucher on October 28, 2002, he notes:

“The a diabetic and amnesiac who has avoided exercise since injury aborted his college football career 40 years ago. John “Sonny” Vaccaro has long been cast as some kind of mafioso, strong-arming amateur basketball for much of his 63 years. And that’s by people who haven’t seen him shuffling unshaven at 9 a.m. in sweatpants and a T-shirt, showing off his Calabasas, Calif., tomato garden like Don Corleone.

Those people were going on the bloodhound eyes beneath a balding pate, the wide shoulders above a round belly, the thin lips framing a wide mouth and a cackle straight out of The Sopranos. Throw in the nickname, the Las Vegas family ties, the lifelong battle with certain authority figures, the pretty, blonde wife — Pam, his second — 19 years his junior and his way of greeting everyone with a hug or a kiss, and Sonny Vaccaro fits the wise-guy persona down to the last cannoli.” [The Last Don]

It seems like Gandolfini will not have to stray far from his previous role as Tony Soprano.

Last note: Baron Davis is on the production team. How bad could this be?

-Darren Heitner 

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

6 replies on “Gandolfini / Vaccaro: There Is No Retiring From This”

Galdolfini may be a little too dramatic for Vaccaro, but this project sounds excellent. After reading ” The Jump” by Ian O’Connor, who basically followed Sebastain Telfair around for 2 years leading up to Draft Day, Vaccaro has become a familair name. This should be a very interesting story. Congrats Darren, looks like you’re not blogging for pennies anymore!

“Turn that frown upside down, because James Gandolfini is coming back to HBO…in the form of a sports agent? Gandolfini will be playing Sonny Vaccaro in ABCD Camp”

Hope you’re not implying that Sonny is a sports agent! Try a shoe exec.

zak – no longer blogging for pennies…now it’s nickles.

LW – chris is 100% correct. you are naive to think that he is merely a shoe exec.

I know exactly what Sonny is, however an agent he is not. Runner is far more appropriate. Been following Sonny and AAU basketball for many years, can assure you that sports agent is certainly the wrong term. He’s similar to good old Jimmy Goldstein back in old LA. He’s a facilitator, not an agent. He connects these young guys with sports agents, hooks them up on shoe deals. Pretty sure there are a few interviews running around online where Sonny explains his role in AAU basketball. Ask anyone within the business if he’s a sports agent and you’ll honestly be told no.

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