LaVar Ball acknowledged his son’s wearing of different shoes serves as both a temptation and an invitation to the brands that passed on him.
“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.”
The Los Angeles Lakers‘ first-round pick has played five games in the NBA’s summer league. In the first two games, he wore his own Big Baller Brand signature shoe. For the third game he wore Nike, for the fourth Adidas, and for the fifth on Saturday night, he wore Stephen Curry‘s yet-to-be-released Under Armour shoes.
In Saturday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, Ball had 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, helping send the Lakers into the summer league semifinals.
Lonzo Ball in Curry’s tonight as he told Cassidy Hubbarth he would be doing.
Afterward, Lonzo told ESPN that “when he wakes up” he decides which shoes to wear. When asked if his shoe choices are part of a master plan, he noted: “You could say that.”
The Big Baller Brand has sold its shoes online. They are priced at $495 and will begin shipping Nov. 23.
Both LaVar and Lonzo said that wearing different shoe brands reflects the independence Lonzo has to switch things up. But some insiders in the shoe industry thought it was strange that Lonzo was wearing other brands so soon.
In negotiations with the big brands — Nike, Adidas and Under Armour — LaVar made it known that he was looking for $1 billion and wanted those brands to sublicense his Big Baller Brand. The shoe brands quickly passed. Days later, the first Big Baller Brand shoes launched on the company website.
Industry sources said the traditional companies have offered Ball deals in the range of $1.5 million per year. Playing on the Lakers, plus the power of his holdout, could boost that to over $2 million per year.
That’s a long way from a billion.
Information from ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.