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The Beat

Sopranos star James Gandolfini has signed on to play former Nike and Reebok rep Sonny Vaccaro, who helped Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James earn millions in mega shoe deals, in HBO's ABCD Camp. The film is named after the high school camp Vaccaro has run since 1984. When Vaccaro and Gandolfini (right) discussed the role, the actor asked, "There has to be conflict in the movie; how do you feel about that, Sonny?" Vaccaro's answer: "I've been conflicted my whole life!" ... He's holding out of Giants camp, but Michael Strahan has been using his time constructively. The defensive end's DIY Network show, Backyard Stadiums, premieres on Sept. 5; each week Strahan will demonstrate how to build backyard amusements like batting cages and basketball courts. Guests like the Red Bulls' Clint Mathis and former NBA star Darryl Dawkins will offer sport-specific advice. But isn't it risky for an athlete to be around all those hammers and saws? "We play it by the book. Safety, safety, safety," Strahan tells SI. "Still, I left my agent at home."

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