In a totally precedented move, outspoken basketball dad LaVar Ball has said something ridiculous. The latest on his Big Baller Brand, according to Slam, comes via a live Instagram question and answer session in which he discussed making his own signature shoe. “I just don’t know when I’m coming out with it yet. ‘The LaVar-iccis!’ Holler at your boy! But I will give you a tip,” Ball said. “Make sure you save your money because they’re gonna be $1,500 or more. Cause I’m gonna design them and they’re gonna be fly. My bad—they’re gonna be baller-ized.”
Ball and his kids went shoe shopping with Complex and was asked who helped design the ZO2 sneaker and if it was a team effort. He gave an answer that led to yet another classic LaVar Ball quote (the exchange starts around the 4:35 minute mark): "Everything on that shoe, Lonzo created with no team. Just the creativity of a 19-year-old that knows what he likes. After all these shoes, it's a mixture of everything that he likes … A shoe is not that big of a deal. It's two things, stitching and glue. It isn't a science project."
The founders of the Argentinian streetwear and lifestyle company, Baller Brand, called LaVar Ball a “thief” in an Instagram post on Friday, although a legal expert told USA TODAY Sports that Ball's Big Baller Brand isn't in any legal danger.
Diego and Leandro Franco, brothers who founded the company in 2006, claim LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA product and future NBA draftee Lonzo Ball, stole the brand name by just adding “Big." They added that LaVar Ball “wasn’t creative enough to create his own brand name (and) just took ours. We are a company that started from ground zero 11 years ago,” the Franco brothers told USA TODAY Sports. They said they have hired legal counsel in Buenos Aires and are deliberating about how to move forward. “We have many proofs (of photos) that we (have been) doing this way before LaVar.”
LaVar Ball first applied for the Big Ball Brand trademark in September 2016 and it became a registered trademark in March. The Francos didn't submit their filing until Wednesday.
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."
Mark Cuban is no stranger to controversy and entrepreneurship. So I suppose it should be no surprise when the Dallas Mavericks owner tells me of his admiration for the father of top NBA Draft prospect Lonzo Ball. "I'm kind of liking his dad," Cuban tells me. "He is an entrepreneur. He is creating a company from scratch, which isn't ever easy. I like it."
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."
Nick DePaula: Lonzo Ball's debut Big Baller Brand sneaker is available now -- for $495. Price is $695 for sz 14 & 15:
Former two-time NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury is still selling his Starbury shoes in stores in China and online in America starting at $14.98 after originally joining forces with the now-defunct Steve & Barry’s sporting goods store in 2006. If LaVar Ball, father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball, hopes to get his Big Baller Brand going without the help of the major shoe companies, Marbury could offer some advice. “I would listen to what [LaVar Ball] had to say, definitely, if he called,” Marbury told The Undefeated from China. “It’s the delivery, that’s all. Sometimes people can’t accept the delivery. But I understand, because it’s his own feelings. I don’t agree with everything that he is saying, but I understand what he is saying.”
Ball has said that he would reach out to Chinese brands. What advice would you give to him? Marbury: Come rock with us. We know the structure that is needed. We don’t have the capital, but with my brand we have the resources for what is needed from the manufacturing side in China. He doesn’t have to do something with Starbury. We could work together where we can help put them into the position to speak to all the people who have that access to do what they want in China. I’m not saying I want him to come under my umbrella and be with Starbury, but I can position them by setting them up with the people that they need to speak to in order to create their infrastructure if they want to infuse capital into themselves.
LaVar Ball’s attempts to score a lucrative licensing deal between Big Baller Brand and Nike, Adidas or Under Armour have not worked out heading into the NBA draft. So, as of right now, Lonzo — a potential top-3 pick — is without a shoe deal from any of the three brands that control 99 percent of the NBA shoe market. LaVar isn’t worried though. On Tuesday, LaVar snapped back to the criticism his brand has received with a tweet on his newly verified Twitter account.
Adidas, which sponsored UCLA this past season along with the Chino Hills (Calif.) High School basketball team that features younger Ball brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo, has yet to formally discuss a shoe deal with Ball Sports Group. “It’s not dead yet,” a brand source told The Vertical. An official meeting would potentially take place in the coming weeks, with the brand not yet ruling out making a standard endorsement offer.
One of the players expected to be drafted at the very top of the board is UCLA star freshman point guard Lonzo Ball. He is represented by Harrison Gaines as part of the newly formed Ball Sports Group. Gaines is a former employee at Impact Sports, where he worked alongside primary agents on contracts for NBA players Kawhi Leonard and Will Barton. Ball is also being represented in brand negotiations by Ball Sports Group’s founder – his outspoken father, LaVar – sources told The Vertical.
Lonzo has received preliminary interest over the past year from the three current major sneaker brands outfitting NBA players: Nike, adidas and Under Armour. None of the brands have expressed a direct interest in LaVar’s “co-branding partnership” concept, which would license the family’s Big Baller Brand for Lonzo’s footwear to then be manufactured by a partner, multiple industry sources told The Vertical.
In his meetings with the three, LaVar insisted that the company license his upstart Big Baller Brand from him. He also showed the companies a shoe prototype that he hoped would be Lonzo's first shoe. "We've said from the beginning, we aren't looking for an endorsement deal," LaVar told ESPN. "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."
Ball would not disclose how big the Big Baller Brand has become -- the company sells hats and t-shirts ranging from $38 to $100 on its website -- but he said that current sales numbers shouldn't have been on the mind of the shoe companies. "When Facebook bought Whatsapp for $19 billion, those guys weren't profitable," LaVar said.
LaVar says: "So I'm the worst thing that happened in 100 years? That's because everybody been in the darkness for 100 years, but you know how this bothers me? Not at all. Big Baller's chicken. Big Baller's barbecue. Call it what you want. "But George Raveling, you the worst man to be a best man. That's what I heard. How you gonna go to a guy's wedding and then stab him in the back? And you say this the worst thing I'm doing is talking and making chicken? "Let me tell you something, I know I'm on the right step because if nothing like this ain't happen in 100 years, then guess what? We in a new lane, baby. That Big Baller Brand about to be your competition."
August 1, 2021 | 6:32 pm EDT Update
Tommy Beer: Teams with the most cap space this offseason – via @spotrac: 1. Knicks – $52.6 million 2. Spurs – $48 million 3. Mavericks – $33.5 million 4. Thunder – $30 million 5. Grizzlies – $24.4 million 6. Raptors – $22.1 million 7. Heat – $20.4 million 8. Hornets – $16.8 million
August 1, 2021 | 5:54 pm EDT Update
The Warriors have been subject to rumors of trading away Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, their two 2021 lottery picks — Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody — and possibly even future draft picks. But sources within the Golden State organization told NBC Sports Bay Area that there is only one player they’d be willing to give all of that away for. And that player isn’t even available yet.
No particular name was mentioned, but it’s hard not to assume Washington Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal is the aforementioned player. Beal would be a logical addition to the Warrior, and would be someone who could help get them back on top of the Western Conference, if not the NBA. But Beal has denied wanting a trade out of Washington.