O’Bannon vs. NCAA is a five-year old lawsuit that drew a 2014 decision for the plaintiff. It’s currently being appealed by the NCAA. In O’Bannon vs. NCAA, former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon sued the the NCAA to prevent it from hindering commensurate compensation to players for use of their likenesses and names in marketing. O’Bannon–with such illustrious names as Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell joining the suit–won. The decision meant, among other things, that schools could put money derived from licensing revenue in a trust, which the athletes can draw from after they leave school. Previously the NCAA could “unreasonably restrain trade” by limiting what the players could receive.
Sonny Vaccaro, the legendary basketball sneaker executive, played a major role in O’Bannon’s case. Vaccaro has long fought for individual players to get paid. He called the O’Bannon victory over the NCAA the most important thing he’d accomplished in his long career–no small call coming from the man who virtually invented Air Jordans. The hoop shoe impresario said at the time of the decision last year, “on my tombstone, if something is written about me other than hopefully being a decent human being, I helped these kids get recognized.”