Twenty years ago, there was a local basketball star who had already figured out that his talent even as a high school player could bring him riches.
“If you need something, you just ask,” said Tony Bland, then a junior at Westchester High who played for a Nike-sponsored AAU team. “Shoes, shirts, jerseys, hats, socks, you name it. I’ve got shoes still in boxes.”
Bland’s quote was published as part of a 1997 Los Angeles Times investigation entitled “Shoe Wars,” which documented the relationship between apparel companies and the murky worlds of club basketball and college recruiting.
On Tuesday, Bland, 37, was arrested in Tampa, Fla., on federal charges of conspiracy to...