LaVar Ball acknowledged his son Lonzo is wearing different shoe brands as both a temptation and 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,” Ball said via text message. “The players are the brand ambassadors. The brand is nothing without the players.”
Asked whether there is still a chance for a big shoe brand to sign his son, 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 summer league games. In the first two games, he wore his own Big Baller Brand shoe. For the third game he wore Nike, for the fourth Adidas, and for the fifth, on Saturday night against the Brooklyn Nets, he wore Stephen Curry‘s yet-to-be-released Under Armour brand.
Lonzo Ball had 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists against the Nets, helping the Lakers advance to the summer league semifinals.
Lonzo Ball in Curry’s tonight as he told Cassidy Hubbarth he would be doing.
Afterward, Lonzo Ball told ESPN that “when he wakes up” he decides which shoes to wear. Asked whether 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 Ball 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 Lonzo 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.
Information from ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.