In April, LaVar Ball confirmed to ESPN that Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all informed him they were not interested in signing a deal with his son, Lonzo Ball. Ball was reportedly looking for an unprecedented $1 billion deal that would see one of the major brands partner with his own Big Baller Brand company. With no deal in place, the Balls then debuted the ZO2 sneaker under their Big Baller Brand umbrella, with models retailing for $495.
Over two months later, Lonzo Ball has been drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, and during game action Ball has taken the court in each of the three major shoe brands he and his father were unable to strike a deal with. As fans and media members began comparing his son’s statistical performance in major retail brands versus his own ZO2 shoes, LaVar shrugged off the comparisons.
“Oh you can do that all day just so you can have something to write about,” the elder Ball told ESPN. “That boy can play barefoot and do the same thing. He’s just letting them know he can play in any shoe he feels like. That’s how that Big Baller Brand roll. We’ve got that independence. We don’t have to be strapped down. You know how many players want to do that?”
ESPN’s Darren Rovel also revealed that Ball told him via text his son was “making a statement to the brands of what they could have had with an open mind.”
While NBA Summer League dominance is rarely indicative of a successful pro career, Lonzo Ball has put up some impressive stats while switching between shoe brands in his initial games as a Laker.
Ball has recorded the only two triple-doubles in the 13-year history of the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League. Heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, Ball led the summer league in steals and assists while leading all guards in rebounds and blocks.