Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has caused a stir around the NBA not just for his play on the court, but how he’s marketed himself as well.
The highly-hyped rookie chose to forgo signing with a more established shoe brand upon getting drafted second overall in the 2017 NBA Draft and instead chose to sign with his family’s own Big Baller Brand, which immediately gave him a signature shoe.
Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant never did anything quite that independent, even if he was always incredibly hands-on with the creation of his own signature shoes, but it sounds like he’s still intrigued by Ball’s plan via Eric Chemi of CNBC:
“I’m all for doing thing differently,” Bryant said. “I just think you have to obsess over every single detail about that product…Before getting into the marketing and the storytelling of it all, you have to get the product right.”
Bryant is known for having been heavily involved with the design and details of his own Nike shoes and believes creativity and quality is the only way for Big Baller Brand to last:
“That’s how you challenge the big guys, with innovation and high-quality product, he said. “Then you give yourself a serious fighting chance.”
While Ball’s shoe plan is certainly innovative, it remains to be seen if the actual finished product is high quality. Ball notably stopped wearing the original model of his ZO2s after one game at Las Vegas Summer League, but he wore the new ZO2 Prime Remixes in his Lakers debut and hasn’t appeared to have any problems of note so far.
The main thing working against Big Baller Brand might be the price of the shoe, which starts at $495. That’s a significant amount of money to drop on basketball shoes for anyone’s budget, but Bryant might be right in that if the shoes can give customers something they can’t have otherwise than it might find a market that isn’t being tapped by the tradition manufacturers.
If the shoes are high quality enough to satisfy that market, than Big Baller Brand may just have something.