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ESPN Identifies AAU Coach In Michael Avenatti Nike Scandal

a photo of a player wearing nike shoes

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

ESPN has reportedly identified the AAU coach discussed in the Michael Avenatti Nike documents that were released today.

Avenatti, the notable attorney who represented Stormy Daniels, has been charged with attempting to extort more than $20 million from Nike.

The attorney claimed to have information relating to college basketball that would harm Nike.

Avenatti announced today that he would be holding a press conference on Tuesday to disclose a "major" scandal. "This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball," he tweeted.

The attorney has since been arrested, so it's unclear if the press conference will be happening.

ESPN has since identified the AAU coach in the documents.


ESPN has confirmed the AAU coach in the Avenatti documents is Gary Franklin Sr. of the California Supreme program. @Mark_Schlabach@pinepaula

— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 25, 2019

">the report:

"For a number of years, the AAU program coached by Client-1 had a sponsorship agreement with Nike pursuant to which Nike paid the AAU program approximately $72,000 annually," the complaint says.

Sources told ESPN that the AAU coach is Gary Franklin of the California Supreme program in Los Angeles. Franklin's former players include NBA players Deandre Ayton (Arizona) and De'Anthony Melton (USC) of the Suns, Solomon Hill (Arizona) of the Pelicans and Aaron Holiday (UCLA) of the Pacers and several current college players, including Oregon's Bol Bol and UCLA's Shareef O'Neal.

The AAU coach allegedly had information that could harm Nike, as the document said "one or more Nike employees had authorized and funded payments to the families of top high school basketball players and/or their families and attempted to conceal those payments, similar to conduct involving a rival company [Adidas] that had recently been the subject of a criminal prosecution in this District. Avenatti identified three former high school players in particular, and indicated that his client was aware of payments to others as well."

At this point, it's unclear what this all means for Nike and the college basketball world. It's possible Avenatti could still hold his press conference.

Nike released a statement on the matter today:

More details are likely to come later this week.