"The NBA gets much too much credit for marketing their players. They don't market their players; the shoe companies do," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, baseball's executive vice president for business operations. "The shoe companies made a realization when they were dealing with [Jordan] that they weren't just marketing to the basketball player but to a wide audience. Because when schools started allowing kids to wear sneakers to school, then guys like me and you who couldn't play like Mike could look like Mike."
Solomon said baseball has several initiatives aimed at addressing the decline of black players on the field, but noted the 40 percent overall minority rate for players.