Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball does not have public records of his shoe endorsement with family-owned Big Baller Brand.
But because sports are inherently competitive and we have access to the sneaker-endorsement earnings of other top NBA players, many will still try to predict exactly how much he is collecting. Others will wonder how much he would have made if he went a more traditional route.
Sneaker expert Nick DePaula, for example, believes Ball could have seen a check for $15 million if he had signed a five-year deal with a top shoe company.
Ball has instead made history on an alternative path, though we may never know if it was the “right” choice.
Another industry insider Matt Powell initially estimated Big Baller Brand would sell 10,000 units in his initial estimate.
FormSwift.com used the price point of the shoe to calculate how much profit Big Baller Brand would earn based on profit margin per sneaker:
“Using the profit margin per sneaker research conducted by the University of Oregon, for every pair of ZO2 shoes sold, Big Baller Brand could expect to net 9% of the sales price of $495 as profit. Since Big Baller Brand is a family business run by Lonzo’s father, we treated the total profit of the ZO2 shoe sales, $445,500, as the value of Lonzo’s endorsement deal per year.”
This number does not take into account the other merchandise Big Baller Brand sells including slides, shirts, sweatshirts and hats. It’s also based entirely on an unconfirmed estimate.
But when the study used the same formula to determine how much Nike paid NBA superstar LeBron James, it produced nearly his exact total:
“This calculation of Lonzo’s endorsement deal also was checked against a similar calculation of LeBron’s shoes sales, shoe price, and Nike’s profit margin per LeBron shoe. The resulting figure from this calculation was $32,400,000, which is almost exactly the annual value of LeBron’s endorsement. This confirmed the validity of our estimate that the profit from Lonzo’s shoe sales could be counted as his annual endorsement value.”
Rather than compare Lonzo to James and other superstars who have proven themselves over time and are not on their first contracts with their endorser, we can take a look at first-year players heading into the league.
Top rookies from the 2017 class including Markelle Fultz and Dennis Smith Jr. will earn between $4,000 and $5,000 per day from their shoe deal. Ball, meanwhile, projects to collect around $1,200 per diem.
Below is a breakdown of how many days it would take each player to collect the $445K that Ball is projected to earn this season from shoe sales.
It’s worth mentioning that Big Baller Brand is a privately owned company so we may never hear exact sale reports.
Until we are proven otherwise, it’s too early to say it was a bad decision for him to consider a more independent route.
As Ball continues to grow as a fan favorite in Los Angeles, especially if he plays well and takes home accolades like 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year, sale projections could spike.