In talking to a veteran high school basketball coach the other day, I mentioned that Larry Butler, the longtime head coach of the Illinois Warriors' AAU basketball program, no longer was employed by Nike. Depending on your source, he was either fired or resigned. Now Mac Irvin of the Chicago Fire and Tai Streets of MeanStreets are Nike's representatives in Chicago.
"You made my day," the coach said.
Butler was employed by Nike for 13 years. He built one of the strongest AAU programs in the country. He helped to produce 19 NBA players, two Olympians and 11 assistant college coaches. The list includes Andre Iguodala, Jon Scheyer and Jerrance Howard.
He claimed his decision to leave was based on the fact that he no longer was on the same page with Nike's new management. When Nike asked him to co-exist with his rival AAU coaches, Irvin and Streets, he said he couldn't and wouldn't. So Nike severed their longtime relationship.