LaVar Ball Has Already Cost His Son Millions Of Dollars
LaVar Ball is father to Lonzo Ball as well as two other sons LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball; LiAngelo is committed to UCLA and will begin playing this Fall, while son LaMelo, a sophomore at Chino Hills HS, is verbally committed to the school. LaVar is a Los Angeles native and is passionate about his sons playing only for the UCLA Bruins and, if possible, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lonzo Ball is regarded as one of the top prizes in this year’s NBA Draft. Back in March, LaVar Ball made a remark about Lonzo being a better basketball player than two-time MVP Steph Curry. Additionally, LaVar has compared his son with LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook. He claimed that he himself could beat Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, at their primes, in a game of one-on-one, despite LaVar averaging 2.2 points per game at the college level. He blamed “white guys” for UCLA being knocked out of the Elite Eight round. He believed his sons would be worth $1 billion for a shoe deal, starting the Big Baller Brand. Even George Raveling, one of the most influential men in the business of basketball and an exec at Nike, called LaVar Ball “the worst thing to happen to basketball in one hundred years”
Here’s How LaVar Ball Literally Threw Away Millions of Dollars
John Kim highlights this abject failure from a good but overbearing father who is neither a professional sports agent nor marketing professional. Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are all interested in signing Lonzo. It’s an ongoing battle among the three footwear giants to sign the most promising names, and Lonzo’s projected success in the NBA alone is worth a sit-down meeting. Rookie shoe deals aren’t what they once were because the basketball shoe business is plummeting. Just last year, Ben Simmons, whose NBA ceiling is generally regarded to be higher than that of Lonzo, received a 5-year $20 million dollar contract from Nike.
It’s safe to assume that if any of the three brands were seriously interested in Lonzo, they would have offered a similar package (most certainly less in dollar amounts) for a “standard” rookie shoe deal, a deal that many expected Lonzo to receive. That’s millions of dollars in the bank for wearing shoes on an NBA court and appearing in a few ads – the absolute dream for anyone who takes basketball seriously.
Instead, LaVar not only insisted on Big Baller Brand being licensed by whichever company decided to sign his son, but even went as far as offering shoe design mock-ups that LaVar claims to have been working on since the day Lonzo was born. Licensing a brand or a player has occurred once in NBA history. That player was Michael Jordan, and it didn’t happen until 1998, when MJ already won the bulk of his rings and his status as the greatest basketball player of all-time was cemented.
LaVar attempted to leverage the self-generated hype in order to get a similar return from Nike/Adidas/Under Armour despite the fact that Lonzo has yet to dribble a basketball on an NBA hardwood floor. It appears that big three brands were so turned off by LaVar’s pitch that they chose to pass on Lonzo completely.
Instead of the three brands engaging in a small bidding war for this impressive talent, all three kicked LaVar and Lonzo to the curb. Had Lonzo hired a legitimate agent who was aware of the business and the hype, Lonzo would have, without question, a multi-million dollar shoe deal on his lap and the legend of Lonzo would have begun.
This has never occurred in the history of shoe deals. Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are billion dollar brands that have very strict and specific ideals and operate on the conservative end. LaVar’s behavior has made such a significant impact that these industry giants, who in part thrive from being represented by top level athletes, want nothing to do with him or his sons.