Streetball Loses It’s Cool

June 29, 2011  |  

(Wall Street Journal) — In the early 2000s, the New York-centric sport of street basketball seemed to have pierced some magic barrier.  First the fans came. Then the corporate sponsors, and then the bright lights of television. At its height, Mountain Dew was a marketing partner and ESPN broadcast a national tour.  But just as quickly as streetball came into vogue, it has since receded. Today, its backers aren’t thinking about who should be on the cover of the next streetball videogame. They’re pinning their hopes on a modest revival.  “I think it was destined to fade out, and I think it just ran its course,” said Sonny Vaccaro, a former sports marketing executive who worked for Nike, Reebok and Adidas. He likened the streetball players to the Harlem Globetrotters, but with less organized basketball talent. “Streetball is good, but that’s all they can do. It’s a show,” Vaccaro added. “There were no more gimmicks these guys could do. It was entertaining, but ultimately it wasn’t competitive.”

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