The Los Angeles Lakers franchise has entered a crossroad this offseason, waiting on the fate of their top-three protected pick to move on with their offseason endeavors. If the Lakers survive the NBA Draft Lottery, a logical choice could be UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball.
Ball spent his freshman campaign dazzling fans across the nation, leading the Bruins to a Sweet 16 appearance during March Madness. Although the 20-year-old’s game spoke for itself during his lone college season, much of his notoriety was due to the larger-than-life personality of his father, LaVar.
LaVar’s overzealous attitude often resulted in extensive media coverage, which in turn resulted in all of his remarks being criticized immensely. Some of his bold claims involve his stating his son Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and LaVar himself being able to defeat Michael Jordan 1-on-1 back in the day.
LaVar and the Big Baller Brand reached out to Nike, Under Armour and Adidias to attempt to reach a shoe deal for his son, but to now avail, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell:
Ball’s father, LaVar, confirmed that the three shoe and apparel companies informed him they were not interested in completing a deal with his son. Sources with the three companies told ESPN.com that they indeed were moving on.
The fact that many big-name shoe companies have all passed at a consensus top NBA prospect is unheard of, which may speak more of the financial situation involved with the Ball family. During meetings, LaVar insisted that the companies would license the Big Baller Brand from him, attempting to form a co-branding deal rather than an endorsement.
Since UCLA’s elimination, LaVar and the Big Baller Brand have remained relatively quiet in the news, but rather active behind the scenes. The Ball family believes that their shoe deal can accumulate a billion dollar value, which feeds to the bold predications LaVar is accustomed to. With Lonzo set to be a top pick in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft, teams and sponsorships have begun testing the draft class market.
With the three major shoes companies all declining any business deals with the Big Baller Brand, LaVar and Lonzo are left to either find an outsourced company, or to change their original position. LaVar originally stated that his son wanted to solely play for the Lakers, but since clarified the comments towards a different interpretation.
Lonzo averaged 14.6 points during his freshman season, with a 55.1 field goal percentage and 41.2 three-point percentage. He also posted 6.0 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.8 steals in 35.1 minutes per game.