For the first time since his NBA preseason debut, Lonzo Ball wore his own signature shoe—the Big Baller Brand ZO2 Prime Remix—to a Los Angeles Lakers game, according to ESPN’s Jovan Buha. This time around, though, he wore them for little more than warming up before the Lakers’ exhibition finale against the Clippers and warming the bench during Friday night’s game at Staples Center.
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Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball said he is still deliberating on whether he will wear other shoe brands in addition to his Big Baller Brand this season like he did when he created a stir at the Las Vegas Summer League. “Who knows,” Ball said when asked if he will wear other brands such as Nike and Adidas during his rookie season. “Probably my shoes, though, thinking about it right now. “I’ll definitely be in my shoes the first game and then just go from there.”
Ball, technically not under a shoe endorsement deal, reportedly due to his father LaVar’s “outlandish” financial demands has been seen wearing Nike Kobe AD sneakers as well as James Harden’s signature Adidas shoe during the NBA Summer League. The quiet, yet incredibly talented guard has also worn the BBB’s signature ZO2s but the creators of the video game 2K Sports have stated that the ZO2s are not featured in the game.
If Lonzo Ball had been interested in signing a traditional endorsement deal, brands were expected to initially offer at least $1.5 million per year. That would be in line with offers made to fellow rookies Markelle Fultz, De’Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson. After being drafted by the Lakers as the second overall pick, Ball’s base number realistically could have escalated to more than $2.5 million per year, according to multiple brand sources.
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.
Since launching the $495 pre-order edition of the ZO2 sneaker, along with an autographed $995 “collector’s edition,” Big Baller Brand is on the hook to both manufacture and deliver the shoe to customers by the Nov. 24 promised ship date. More than 700 pairs have already been ordered. All things considered — sky-high price, six-month shipping delay, brand that has never before made a shoe — it’s a respectable number that beat out the expectations of several rival industry sources.
Joel Embiid just offered an olive branch to LaVar Ball … but peace comes with three commas. With the war raging between Embiid and Lonzo Ball’s dad, we asked the Philadelphia 76ers star if there was ANY way he’d ever rock a pair of ZO2s on the hardwood this season. There is one way — but LaVar would have to cut a BILLION DOLLAR check!
Sole Collector: Lonzo Ball is wearing the Air Jordan 31 tonight. When asked if he’s trying to start a bidding war, his answer was, “Something like that.”
LaVar commented to ESPN this weekend about Lonzo’s footwear and he explained why he went from Nike to Adidas to Under Armour in consecutive games. “It’s making a statement to the brands of what they could have had with an open mind. The players are the brand ambassadors. The brand is nothing without the players.”
Asked whether there’s still a chance that a big shoe brand can sign his son Lonzo Ball, LaVar responded: “If the price is right. Quite frankly we are officially in the shoe game, and are a billion dollar brand either way.”
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 indicate that a deal for Ball from the traditional companies originally fell in the $1.5 million a year range. Playing on the Lakers, plus the power of his holdout, could boost that up over $2 million a year.
LaVar Ball says his son’s wearing of Nike shoes Wednesday night is about the Los Angeles Lakers rookie’s freedom to choose and has nothing to do with any negotiations with the world’s largest shoe and apparel company. “Lonzo is not forced to wear any brand and can play in any shoe he wants as long as it’s OK with the NBA,” LaVar Ball told ESPN by text early Thursday morning. “This is what being independent is all about.”
The Kobe Bryant shoes, though, might have helped put Ball into an aggressive offensive mindset. “Um, you know, Mamba mentality,” Ball said when asked why he wore Nike. “Thought I’d switch it up.” Ball added: “Like I said, you can wear whatever you want when you play with Big Baller Brand … and it is just nice to get out there and do that.”
During his workout for the Los Angeles Lakers, projected No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball surprisingly did not wear his signature ZO2 shoes. On the page to preorder the expensive sneakers, shipping is promised by November 24, 2017. While the date is still five and a half months away, Ball wore the shoes to announce the product for SLAM Magazine.
Sports apparel giants Nike, Adidas and Under Armour were reportedly prepared to offer UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, a top prospect in the 2017 NBA draft, a $10 million shoe contract, but his father, LaVar Ball, wanted a “more lucrative” deal. ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported the information during an appearance this week on the Dan Patrick Show, per Brad Crawford of 247Sports. “We said Tiger (Woods) might be the next Jordan taking over, but there is no next Jordan in basketball or probably no next Jordan anywhere,” Rovell said. “I know that’s going to disappoint LaVar Ball, but I think you have to say that.”
Rovell went on to say LaVar Ball is betting on his Big Baller Brand rather than taking a deal that could have doubled his son’s rookie salary. The ESPN business reporter told Patrick he’s surprised the patriarch didn’t take a different route after the Los Angeles Lakers landed the second overall pick. “It’s strange to me that LaVar didn’t at least fold some of his cards and go back to the shoe companies in earnest,” he said. “After the Lakers thing goes down and the perfect scenario is going to unfold, the new deal, Nike (to) five years and $20 million. But what does LaVar Ball do? Instead of saying he now wants $1 billion, he now wants $3 billion.”
LaVar Ball said Wednesday that if Nike, Under Armour or Adidas wants to make a deal with his Big Baller Brand now, the asking price is $3 billion. He also explained that he sees no need to market his products to women. In a wide-ranging, sometimes contentious interview with Fox Sports 1’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” LaVar Ball reiterated that he wants his son, NBA prospect Lonzo Ball, to play only for the Los Angeles Lakers and revealed he has sold 400 to 500 pairs of $495 ZO2 shoes since they launched two weeks ago.
Ball was asked about dealing with the big shoe companies, and he said they will regret not making a deal with him after his son is picked by the Lakers. “Now that Lonzo’s headed to Los Angeles, what they should have done is give me a billion dollars and let me be on my way,” he said.
Fox Sports reporter Kristine Leahy, whom Ball earlier referred to as a “hater” and told to “stay in your lane” after she pressed him on the number of shoes sold, argued that for Big Baller Brand to be appealing to the big shoe companies, he would have to market his products to women. Ball scoffed at the idea. “Yeah, if you have a women’s company. … We’re talking about Big Baller Brand,” he said. Later in the interview, after several tense exchanges with Leahy, Ball said: “I never disrespect women, but I tell you what, if you act like that, something’s coming to you and it’s OK.”
Those stars waited until they were stars to cut out the middleman. But already LaVar’s called out: the shoe companies, the NCAA, AAU basketball teams run by shoe companies, retail stores taking a cut of shoe and merchandise sales — basically all the gatekeepers of the world he’s trying (to conquer. Is he trying to change the system or work it? That might not matter, as long as at least one of his sons lives up to the hype he’s created for them. “People don’t understand the movement,” he says. “This is a power play to show everybody, ‘Yo, we don’t need you to make this s — .'”
LaVar Ball’s plan to make Nike and Adidas regret passing on a co-branding opportunity with his son Lonzo and Big Baller Brand appears to be heading in the wrong direction. At yesterday’s Ballislife All-American Game at Long Beach City College, photographer Cassy Athena snapped this shot of the Ball family—LaVar, Lonzo and LaMelo—sitting courtside. Immediately, people noticed that despite unveiling Lonzo’s ZO2 Big Baller Brand signature sneaker earlier week, the brothers were laced up in Jordan Retros, while LaVar wore the Adidas Energy Boost 3.
Much of social media was up in arms at the price of the main shoe, the ZO2, which retails for $495. When asked Friday about how he came up with the price point, LaVar said on ESPN Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show that he was the sole decision-maker. “I figure that’s what the shoe is worth,” LaVar said. “When you are your own owner you can come up with any price you want.”
Darren Rovell: Rumor Big Baller Brand sold 5,000 pairs of shoes is bogus. Order # from those who buy this AM is around #4600. That’s all site orders.
This Warriors coach isn’t a big baller. On the same day LaVar Ball, UCLA product Lonzo Ball’s father, and Big Baller Brand unveiled their $495 ZO2 sneakers, Mike Brown was asked if he would buy his children “a pair of shoes for $500 from an unproven NBA player after college?” “Uh, no,” the Warriors interim head coach responded before Golden State’s 115-104 win over Utah, while bursting out in laughter.
On Thursday evening, Ball posted to Twitter and took a shot at everyone complaining about that $495 price tag. He did so in predictable LaVar Ball fashion.
John Gonzalez: Reporter: Would you buy your kid a pair of $500 sneakers? Mike Brown: [Belly laugh] No.
Nick DePaula: The first Big Baller Brand sneaker, unveiled by Lonzo Ball.
Nick DePaula: Lonzo Ball’s debut Big Baller Brand sneaker is available now — for $495. Price is $695 for sz 14 & 15:
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November 22, 2017 | 3:08 am EST Update
Larry Nance Jr. could be back on the court for the Lakers as early as Monday, barely three weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand. The third-year power forward has been practicing with the team since his cast came off on Nov. 14. After playing Wednesday at Sacramento, the Lakers will go four days before their next game, Monday against the Clippers.
Marreese Speights: Congrats on a great career my #gatorbro @dlee042 dlee042 it was a blessing to call you my teammate,brother and also a champion!!! Uncertain of what life will bring you but I am certain it will involve greatness!! Thanks for all you have done for this game bro!
As he sat at his locker after returning from a five-game layoff, only to be part of an 11th loss in 12 games, Patrick Beverley expressed how “pissed off” he was. “This … feels like 100 losses,” Beverley said. “Straight up. This … is weak. This ain’t how I roll. That ain’t OK and I won’t allow it to be OK as long as I’m here. That’s a fact.”
“Hell no,” Beverley said. “We just got to play harder. That’s it. We just got to play harder. You get rid of the mistakes by playing hard. We’re not playing hard; the first unit, not the whole team. I challenged the first unit to play harder.”
Lillard says the two never had a problem, and that Aldridge has already heard everything he says in this article. Lillard’s point in bringing up his experience with Aldridge is that it helped shape his approach in how to mentor Nurkic. “Me and LaMarcus had a good relationship. We never had a single argument. We really got along,’’ Lillard said. “I’m just saying the stuff I want to go out of my way to do for (Nurkic), is the stuff I wish I got from LaMarcus.’’
Leaning in, Lillard tousled Nurkic’s hoodie, then took a seat next to him. What would follow is another layer in what is a powerful and unique relationship between two of the team’s pillars. “I know what it’s like to be young and counted on,’’ Lillard later explained. The relationship is powerful in how it has impacted Nurkic. “Damian Lillard,’’ Nurkic said, “is the best thing that has happened to me in my life.’’
What’s in front of the Timberwolves is a chance to become the type of team Thibodeau always envisioned, with Butler serving as the steady hand who can take games over late, something Thibodeau was sorely lacking a year ago. “A lot of things have changed since we’ve been here, since this team has been together — for the better,” Butler said. “I think we can continue in this direction because we all expect so much from one another, from the organization”