The Los Angeles Lakers selected UCLA guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the NBA Draft, and if Summer League is any indication, they aren’t going to be disappointed with their pick. Ball has proven himself to be every bit the passing wizard that he was touted as, and even better, the dishing disease has proven to be contagious.
As impressive as Ball’s on court skills have been, a strange subplot has been brewing over what brand of shoes he is wearing on any given night. After finding themselves unable to come to an agreement with a major shoe company like Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, etc, Lonzo and his dad LaVar opted to forge their own path, releasing the ZO2 under their family label, Big Baller Brand. However, Lonzo has spent Summer League wearing Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour shoes created for Kobe Bryant, James Harden, and Stephen Curry, respectively. When asked about it by ESPN, LaVar admitted that they may still wind up signing a deal with a major company:
“It’s making a statement to the brands of what they could have had with an open mind,” the patriarch said via text message. “The players are the brand ambassadors. The brand is nothing without the players.”
Asked whether there’s still a chance for a big shoe brand to sign his son Lonzo, LaVar responded: “If the price is right. Quite frankly we are officially in the shoe game, and are a billion dollar brand either way.”
It’s unusual for a player with his own shoe to wear a different brand, so Lonzo wearing the shoes of three of his competitors has certainly made waves. Still, as unusual as some of their tactics may be, one can’t argue with the success the Ball family has had thus far.
After all, the Lakers competed in the first ever sold-out Summer League game when they took on Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics as fans flocked to see Lonzo. The buzz around him is stronger than any other player in the draft, even first overall pick Markelle Fultz, and the record-setting pair of triple doubles that Ball dropped won’t quiet the growing media storm.
Lonzo’s spinning carousel of shoes may just be giving each company a taste of what his endorsement could bring, though no one knows for sure just which brand he will end up with long-term.