Sport Marketing Innovator and Athletes’ Rights Advocate
Considered one of basketball’s most well-connected insiders, Sonny Vaccaro remains a formidable force in contemporary sports marketing and the future of collegiate sports.
His visionary promotional innovations (beginning with the signing of Michael Jordan to his first major endorsement package) revolutionized the sports marketing genre with shoe contracts, team affiliations and other ground-breaking promotional partnerships which have helped propel the fortunes of countless athletes, collegiate programs and professional teams. In a career spanning 30-plus years in the shoe industry, he brought his marketing and player development acumen to basketball programs at the world’s three largest athletic shoe and apparel companies.
Mental Health/Wellness Advocate and Former Professional Athlete
Chamique Holdsclaw was born and raised in Queens, NY, she first made her mark as a high school basketball star at Christ The King High School. She later accepted a full athletic scholarship to play collegiately for the perennial Women’s Basketball Powerhouse University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers and Hall of Fame Coach Pat Summit. She went on to have a stellar collegiate career that included leading the Lady Vols to three straight NCAA Championships, which was the first time that had ever been accomplished in Women’s College Basketball history. After her illustrious college basketball career, which included several All-American honors and countless other awards, Chamique would go on to be the #1 Pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics. Her rookie season was capped with a WNBA Rookie of the Year Award as well as her first of six WNBA All-Star appearances. In 2000 she had the honor of winning an Olympic Gold Medal with Team USA at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.