A deal between Lonzo Ball and major apparel brands Nike, Adidas and Under Armour is not in the cards, but LaVar Ball isn’t just licking his wounds somewhere.
The outspoken basketball dad, father of NBA draft prospect Lonzo, confirmed to ESPN that all three companies passed on a deal to license the family’s Big Baller Brand. Sources from the brands confirmed the news to the sports site and said LaVar insisted on such an agreement between them and his company, which sells athletics apparel ranging from $38 to $100. They also said LaVar presented a prototype of what would have been his son’s first shoe.
“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar said. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”
Now, LaVar is setting his sites on Chinese companies including Anta, Peak and Li-Ning. And he’ll also consider a potential partner in tech, like Facebook.
“Just imagine how rich Tiger [Woods], Kobe [Bryant], Serena [Williams], [Michael] Jordan and LeBron [James] would have been if they dared to do their own thing,” LaVar said, reflecting on Nike executive George Raveling’s comments that LaVar is “the worst thing to happen to basketball.” “No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do, and I have three sons, so it’s that much more valuable.”
Lonzo is heading to the NBA Draft in two months after spending one season as a UCLA Bruin. LiAngelo signed with UCLA and LaMelo also has committed to the school.
Online, some accused LaVar of destroying Lonzo’s chances of getting a lucrative sneaker deal.
No other way to say it: Lavar Ball has supremely botched this.
— Clinton Yates (@clintonyates) April 28, 2017
Lavar Ball blowing his sons money opportunities like pic.twitter.com/DsldGnhbrq
— Gilbert Arenas (@GilbertAgent0) April 28, 2017
So Nike, adidas and Under Armor pass on Lonzo Ball, why? Yep his daddy. Smh #ThanksPops
— KirK? (@Team_KirK_) April 28, 2017
Lavar Ball really is a cancer to his sons career and he doesnt see it, and that is scary
— Marcus Steeleburg (@_IAmMarkAnthony) April 28, 2017
Others shared guesses as to what Lonzo would wear in the NBA.
Lonzo Ball gonna be hooping in Timbs
— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) April 28, 2017
Lonzo Ball gon be hoopin in these pic.twitter.com/0DFrBBrhaM
— Henny Club Captain (@BlackIce392) April 28, 2017
EXCLUSIVE Look at Lonzo Ball's Big Baller Brand Shoe: pic.twitter.com/nDdLonhxId
— Evan Louie (@EvJLou) April 28, 2017
Lonzo Ball is going to have to follow in the footsteps of Matt Bonner and wear New Balance shoes. pic.twitter.com/6LH595y9mD
— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) April 28, 2017
Lavar Ball giving K-Swiss his sales pitch pic.twitter.com/M1lBrMOQKj
— jerin. (@jaystuntin_) April 28, 2017
Some sided with LaVar’s business methods.
Lavar Ball rationale is what a lot of black people should aspire to be but I digress
— Broke and Ashy (@olaoluwakiwms) April 28, 2017
Lavar Ball is playing with house money. The worst his family can end up is millionaires.
— Brandon (@JealousCloud) April 28, 2017
Anyone who understands business knows what #LavarBall is trying to do, build it right and he'll have Nike knocking at his door in 5 years.
— JHawk Productions (@OfficialJHawk) April 28, 2017
LaVar Ball's heart & mind are in the right place, he just gotta get his mouth on the same page.
— ℭhris¹³⁸ (@MrChristopherX) April 28, 2017
One imagined how Lonzo would react to the news.
When the shoe companies called up Lonzo Ball and told him what LaVar did: pic.twitter.com/9DlEkyuUYw
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 28, 2017