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Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed, and the Corruption of America's Youth
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Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed, and the Corruption of America's Youth

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  12 reviews
One hot basketball player. One cool new sneaker. For a company like Nike, the combination can equal millions of dollars in profits. That's why the shoe companies are engaged in a frantic full-court press to find and sign the next generation of hoop stars -- before the competition does. The result: America's playgrounds, high schools, and junior high schools have become cor ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 2000)
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So I missed the fact that this title was a pun. I thought this was going to be a book about the general corruption of college basketball and the influence it has on players and other young people. Ha. It's about shoes. Literally about how companies like Nike and Adidas have influenced the college/pro basketball scene and about how these guys harass 14 year olds to get them to choose a shoe brand before they've even chosen a college. Maybe someone might be interested in this, but that someone is ...more
This book highlights the relationship between young basketball talent, AAU coaches, shoe companies and college recruiters during the late 90s and early 00s. Several problematic aspects are discussed, like hiring ex-cons to coach AAU teams because their street connections land big time players. Only a few chapters are enjoyable to read, like the ones about Sonny Vaccaro. If you are mainly interested in basketball culture of the time it is a little disappointing as it isn't very even handed. The t ...more
If one can get past the actual topic, the reader will find this book to be quite intriguing. This book is more about the disturbingly obsessive pursuit to find the next Michael Jordan for Nike or Adidas to strike it rich with.

This book delves into capitalism at the expense of patriotism, bribery, perjury, race relations, and how all these topics filter down to the possible most important issue that these 10 to 18-year-olds must face: entitlement.

The authors also discuss how these young athlete-
As I never read about anything but architecture-related crap, and I sort of despise basketball with all my heart, it was obvious that I would finally get around to reading Sole Influence, the story of shoe-empire corruption of our most accessible game if you’re abnormally tall. It’s a bewildering exposé. I figured the Universities were bought and sold as every football player has so many swooshes caked on, one immediately thinks of Tammy Faye Baker’s makeup. What’s disturbing is the fairly recen ...more
Cameron Holmes
If you enjoy basketball, recruiting, and the history of major shoe companies this would be a good book for you. It seemed to drone on a little bit in some parts, but this was still a mostly entertaining book. Other then droning on the only criticism I could have is that you constantly need to remember numerous specific details and characters, because at least one new character was introduced every chapter. I give this book a 4.2 out of 5.
Two stars is too generous, but sadly 1.5 is not an option. It's hard to decide what was most frustrating about the writing in the book - the repetitive ideas and phrases, the atrocious grammar and style, or the long drawn out soapbox rants. The chapters don't really relate to one another, and the individual chapters themselves are not necessarily cohesive pieces. Rather, it feels like you're reading a journalist's notebook - a bunch of interesting ideas hastily scribbled down and briefly fleshed ...more
Excellent topic. The writing style was a litte scattered and inconsistent, but it was a fascinating expose on the influence and manipulation of corporate America, specifically Nike and Adidas, on youth and college basketball. As I finished the book, I kept thinking it was like Fast Food Nation for the basketball world.

Edina Truth-Jones
an honest eye opener to the game behind the game. Detailed history on how marketing took over sports and how marketing relates to the game, the players and the fans. the author brings a non assertive approach to explaining the corporate greed and the extent of their hunt.

a define read for the well rounded sports fan.
If you thought professional athletics was scoured by scandal, think again. Dan Wetzel's novel offers a chilling insight into the Corporate Abuse from Nike, Adidas and Reebok on the minds of basketball players from ages 10-18.
An expose on how sneaker companies are fighting for younger players to support and endorse their shoes. Surprise, surprise - these young people end up becoming annoying thugs.
Donnie Edgemon
If you have a strong enough stomach for the underbelly of amateur basketball, this is fascinating.
Brad Huebner
Sneaker companies slip into college game, high school game, AAU ranks for early favor.
Derek marked it as to-read
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Feb 26, 2015
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Sam Sedlecky marked it as to-read
May 16, 2014
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