Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball did not go the traditional endorsement route after being drafted, as instead of signing with a major shoe company, he along with his dad, LaVar, and his brothers created their own brand, Big Baller Brand.
Lonzo already has a signature shoe out, the ZO2s, and the brand also has a lot of other apparel available on their website.
Despite having their own brand, the plan was still to work out a deal to merge with one of the bigger brands, as LaVar said that companies can sign Lonzo for $1 billion.
Throughout the course of the Las Vegas Summer League Lonzo wore a pair of shoes from each major brand as a way to build hype and perhaps create a bidding war. Despite that, BBB is not currently negotiating with any of the majors brands due to LaVar’s desire for a co-branded partnership, via Nick DePaula of ESPN:
After meeting with representatives from each of the major domestic basketball brands — Nike, Adidas and Under Armour — as far back as December 2016, none of the company reps had an interest in LaVar’s offered “co-branded partnership” structure. Up until the Big Baller Brand unveiled the ZO2 sneaker, Adidas was still interested in making a standard endorsement offer.
In addition to the major American brands, BBB also negotiated with Anta, a China-based athletic brand that represents Klay Thompson and Rajon Rondo:
After each stateside brand passed on expressing interest, Big Baller Brand engaged China-based athletic brand Anta to discuss a potential partnership. Anta currently has traditional sponsorship deals with Klay Thompson and Rajon Rondo, and made signature shoes for Kevin Garnett for his final seven seasons in the league. After a “round of conversations,” according to a source, Anta declined repeated requests for a follow-up meeting after Big Baller Brand presented them with a private label manufacturing concept.
While LaVar wasn’t getting the offers he desired from the major shoe companies, if Lonzo plays well in his rookie season with the Lakers then perhaps those offers will be sweetened a bit with Lonzo on his way to stardom.
Ball is already the most talked about rookie in recent memory. Playing at a star level for the NBA’s premier franchise will only raise his stock more and have shoe companies calling