The Oregonian ran a new investigation into how sneaker companies funnel money into amateur basketball. A major focus of the piece: Duke superstar Marvin Bagley III.
According to the piece, as recently as 2008, the Bagley family reported a total income of $44,000. In 2011, the family sold its house in a trustee's sale, which the piece notes is the sign of possible foreclosure.
The family's financial fortunes were likely to change once Bagley emerged as a superstar basketball recruit. The Duke big man is a likely top three pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
However, it sounds like the family may have leveraged his abilities much sooner. In 2016, Bagley's father essentially admitted as much to Sports Illustrated.
Bagley Jr. in 2016 acknowledged to Sports Illustrated that the family was relying on the Nike sponsorship and an athletic apparel company he was starting up "to make ends meet."
Once in California, the younger Bagley enrolled at Sierra Canyon, a private school in Chatsworth where tuition now tops out at $36,250 a year. BMWs and Mercedes frequent the student parking lot, and the school’s celebrity roster includes kids named Jenner and Kardashian.
The Bagley family made a number of moves while he was in high school. The most surprising came when Marvin Bagley III left Hillcrest Prep, a big Phoenix basketball power that gave his father a coaching position, for a California school after just a few weeks.
His emergence in Arizona electrified prep basketball fans. Characteristic of a top-flight player, he's been a basketball nomad, constantly moving from school to school, team to team, always under the close eye of his father, Marvin Bagley Jr.
He raised eyebrows when he transferred from public school to Hillcrest Prep, then a Nike-sponsored school in Phoenix that unapologetically prioritizes basketball. Principal Matt Allen told The Oregonian/OregonLive he made one major concession to seal the deal: He hired Bagley's father as an assistant coach.
Just six weeks into the year, the Bagleys pulled up stakes for reasons that aren't clear.
Once in California, the Bagleys were able to move into a house in a pretty expensive neighborhood.
Four years later, shortly after Nike's sponsorship of (Bagley Jr.'s Phoenix Phamily grassroots team) became public, they left their working-class neighborhood in Phoenix for Southern California. In a tax filing, the Bagleys listed a home address in a gated subdivision in Northridge called Porter Ranch. Similarly sized homes in the vicinity typically sell for $750,000 to $1.5 million, said Jose Contreras, a Coldwell Banker real estate broker active in the area. Rents in the neighborhood range from $2,500 to $7,500 a month.
Marvin Bagley III is likely off to the NBA, having just finished his freshman year at Duke.
He is yet to officially declare for the NBA Draft, but there is little doubt that that is his next move. He will likely be more than fine once in the pros.
However, The Oregonian's piece adds a bit more background on how shoe companies get in with top basketball players and their families. These issues are far more widespread than what we even know from the FBI's ongoing investigation.