An endorsement deal with Nike, Under Armour or Adidas, is not in the cards for Lonzo Ball.
Ball’s father, LaVar, confirmed that the three shoe and apparel companies informed him they were not interested in completing a deal with his son. Sources with the three companies told ESPN.com that they indeed were moving on.
Never in the history of modern-day shoe endorsements have the big companies all stepped away from a potential top pick nearly two months before the NBA draft. But LaVar, who has been representing Lonzo in the deal, has offered something that has no precedent.
In his meetings with all three companies, LaVar insisted that they license his upstart Big Baller Brand from him, according to the companies. 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.”
Last week, Nike consultant George Raveling, at SportsBusiness Journal’s World Congress of Sports, called LaVar “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.” H/T ESPN
Well, well, well, here we are, back again at the same fork in the road. trying to figure out if Lavar Ball is the smartest man on earth or the most idiotic. It’s a place we’ve been far too often at this point. He’s like a dude that’s always at the scene of a crime but somehow never has anything to do with the actual crime. He may at first always be seen as a helpful witness, but at some point, there’s got to be some correlation between this guy (LaVar) and these bad things happening.
LaVar is a big fan of making comparisons that don’t really fit well and he displays a couple here. LaVar also very famously requested a one billion dollar shoe deal for his three sons. He set that as his asking price and everyone laughed. Every major shoe company has joined in the laughing. LaVar is an egomaniac, so OF COURSE he already has a signature shoe mocked up for Lonzo. Going to China is gonna be tough too. Stephon Marbury, ever heard of him? Yea former best PG in the NBA (self-proclaimed) and current best player in China (actually probably true). He’s a god in China, he has his own shoe company. Starbury’s are considered incredibly successful for a non-major basketball shoe. If he can’t put a dent in the shoe market, how the fuck does LaVar Ball plan on pulling it off.
The one thing I noticed which LaVar said was about his current sales numbers of Big Baller Brand. He basically said they didn’t matter and the companies he’s trying to get to license his product “shouldn’t be worried about current sales!” Listen, I watch a ton of Shark Tank, its the best reality show on TV, everyone wins on it. But watching all this Shark Tank has taught me two things applicable to this situation. 1. Current sales are literally the most important thing when looking for investors in a clothing brand that’s been operating for YEARS. 2. If you’re saying possible investors/partners “shouldn’t be worried about current sales” then you yourself are really worried about current sales because you’ve realized that #1 is true. People not down to by a $65 t-shirt with no brand recognition? Hmm, shocking.
LaVar never really amounted to much himself, which I’m sure is why he’s so invested in his kids and his brand. Sure it’s some level of love and care, but mostly this is about LaVar’s own insecurities. Without his three son’s basketball abilities and the Big Baller Brand, LaVar Ball isn’t much, it doesnt take a lot of sense to realize that. I respect everyone who’s trying to go out of et theirs and maximize every possible opportunity they have. But when it puts your kid’s future prospects, which in turn improve your future prospects in jeopardy to level off some of your own mental demons in your life.
The guy from Nike called you the worst thing to happen to basketball in 100 years. Even if that’s filled with a little bit of salt coming out of the meetings, he can’t be that far off. Again ill apply my Taylor Swift boyfriend logic here. When a bunch of sensible people are saying the same thing about it, it’s not a them problem, it’s a you problem.