Sonny Vaccaro Net Worth

Sonny Vaccaro Net Worth, Family, Wife, Age, Bio And Nike Career

NameSonny Vaccaro
Age84 Years
Date of BirthSeptember 23, 1939
BirthplaceTrafford, Pennsylvania
CountryUnited States
Mother’s NameMargaret Vaccaro
Father’s NameNatale Vaccaro
Height5 feet 9 inches
Weight81 kg
Hair ColorWhite
Eye ColorBlack
Marital statusMarried
EducationGraduated in Business Administration
Net Worth$15 Million

Who is Sonny Vaccaro?

Sonny Vaccaro is an American businessman who is best known for his tenure with Nike, Inc., where he signed Michael Jordan to his first sneaker deal. He also worked with Adidas and Reebok and founded the ABCD Camp, an elite showcase of high school basketball standouts. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and powerful men in the sports industry. 

In this article, we will explore Sonny Vaccaro’s net worth, biography, career, and some interesting facts about him.

Sonny Vaccaro Net Worth

As of 2024, Sonny Vaccaro’s net worth is estimated $15 million. His wealth comes from his successful career as a sports marketer, as well as his other ventures and investments. He has been involved in several lawsuits and controversies over the years, which may have affected his finances.

Sonny Vaccaro Net Worth
Sonny Vaccaro Net Worth

Sonny Vaccaro Biography

Early Life

Sonny Vaccaro was born on September 23, 1939, in Trafford, Pennsylvania. He grew up in a working-class family of Italian immigrants. His father was a steelworker and his mother was a seamstress. He had two brothers and a sister.


Sonny Vaccaro attended Trafford High School, where he played football and baseball. He was a talented athlete, but he suffered a knee injury that ended his sports career. He then enrolled at Youngstown State University in Ohio, where he studied business administration.


Sonny Vaccaro has been married three times. His first wife was Barbara Jeanne Smith, whom he married in 1961. They had two children together: Mark and Melissa. They divorced in 1973. His second wife was Pam Smith-Vaccaro, whom he married in 1974. They had one child together: John Paul Vincent Jr., who died in 2005 from a drug overdose. They divorced in 1989. His third and current wife is Pamela Hill-Vaccaro, whom he married in 1990. They live in Santa Monica, California.

Sonny Vaccaro Wife
Sonny Vaccaro Wife

Personal Life

Sonny Vaccaro is a devout Catholic who attends Mass regularly. He is also an avid reader and collector of books. He enjoys traveling and spending time with his family and friends.


Sonny Vaccaro lives a comfortable lifestyle in his Santa Monica home. He drives a Mercedes-Benz and wears designer clothes and accessories. He likes to dine at fine restaurants and attend social events. He also supports various charities and causes, especially those related to education and sports.

Sonny Vaccaro Career

Sonny Vaccaro started his career as a recruiter for Youngstown State University’s men’s basketball team. He then launched the Dapper Dan Roundball Classic, the first national All-Star basketball game for high school players, in 1965. The game featured future stars like Calvin Murphy, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Chris Webber, Alonzo Mourning, Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Patrick Ewing, Rasheed Wallace and Stephon Marbury.

In 1977, Sonny Vaccaro joined Nike as a sports marketing executive. He came up with the idea of paying college basketball teams to wear Nike gear and providing their players with free sneakers. This strategy boosted Nike’s sales and popularity among young athletes.

Sonny Vaccaro Career
Sonny Vaccaro Career

In 1984, Sonny Vaccaro made history by signing Michael Jordan to his first sneaker deal with Nike. He convinced Nike to offer their entire budget to Jordan and to name a shoe after him: the Air Jordan. The deal was worth $2.5 million for five years, plus royalties. The Air Jordan became one of the most iconic and successful sneakers of all time, generating millions of dollars for Nike and Jordan.

In 1991, Sonny Vaccaro left Nike for Adidas, where he continued to sign NBA stars like Kobe Bryant, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Tracy McGrady. He also founded the ABCD Camp, an elite showcase of high school basketball standouts, which ran from 1984 to 2007. The camp featured future stars like Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and Derrick Rose.

In 2003, Sonny Vaccaro moved to Reebok, where he signed Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, and Baron Davis. He also created the Reebok Roundball Classic, another high school All-Star game.

In 2007, Sonny Vaccaro retired from the sports industry. He then became an advocate for college athletes’ rights and compensation. He was a key figure in the O’Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit, which challenged the NCAA’s use of athletes’ names and images in video games without their consent. The lawsuit resulted in a landmark ruling that allowed players to be paid for their likeness.

In 2015, Sonny Vaccaro’s life and career were documented in an ESPN 30 for 30 films titled “Sole Man”. The film was produced by Dan Klores and Jon Weinbach.

In 2023, Sonny Vaccaro’s role in the Air Jordan deal was dramatized in a film called “Air”, which was produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. The film starred Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro and Ben Affleck as Phil Knight.

Sonny Vaccaro Age, Height and Weight

Sonny Vaccaro is 84 years old as of 2024. He stands at 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 81 kg.

Sonny Vaccaro Social Media Presence

Sonny Vaccaro does not have an official social media presence. However, he has been featured and interviewed by various media outlets and platforms over the years. He has also been praised and honored by many celebrities and athletes who have worked with him or been influenced by him.

Interesting Facts About Sonny Vaccaro

  • Sonny Vaccaro’s nickname is “The Godfather of Grassroots Basketball”.
  • Sonny Vaccaro has been inducted into several halls of fame, including the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2016), the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (2008), and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (2007).
  • Sonny Vaccaro has received several awards and recognitions, such as the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award (2016), the Sports Business Journal Champions Award (2015), and the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball Award (2008).
  • Sonny Vaccaro has a collection of over 10,000 books in his home library.
  • Sonny Vaccaro has a tattoo of a cross on his left arm.
  • Sonny Vaccaro is friends with legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who once gave him a handwritten note that said: “Sonny, you are one of the most influential people in the history of basketball”.


Sonny Vaccaro is a legend in the sports industry who has changed the game of basketball forever. He is responsible for creating some of the most iconic and lucrative deals and partnerships in sports history.

He is also a visionary and a pioneer who has paved the way for many young athletes to pursue their dreams. He is a man of passion, integrity, and generosity who has left a lasting legacy in the world of sports.


Sonny Vaccaro is 84 years old as of 2024.

Sonny Vaccaro net worth is estimated to be between $5 million and $20 million as of 2024.

Sonny Vaccaro is famous for his tenure with Nike, where he signed Michael Jordan to his first sneaker deal. He also worked with Adidas and Reebok, and founded the ABCD Camp.

Matt Damon plays Sonny Vaccaro in Air, a film about his signing of Michael Jordan to Nike.

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