A day after news broke that he's severed ties with Big Baller Brand's co-founder Alan Foster due to stolen money allegations and that the Los Angeles Lakers have looked into whether or not his signature sneakers are causing ankle problems, Lonzo Ball may have just hinted at finally agreeing to a pact with Nike.
In an instagram post, Ball shared a mock ad inspired by Nike's 'Dream Crazier' campaign, adding the caption, "Moving on to bigger and better #MyOwnMan." The image shows his jersey hanging in the Staples Centers rafters next to Lakers legends who have had their numbers retired.
It's possible that Ball is simply referring to not being aligned with Foster anymore, but the fact that he selected a Nike-style image to make his first statement since news of the parting and Lakers' Big Baller Brand concerns made rounds certainly adds fuel to the fire. Before his rookie season in 2017, Ball, with the advice of his father LaVar, chose not to pursue a traditional entry-level sneaker deal that could have paid him $15 million over 5 years according to ESPN's Nick DePaula. Instead, Ball became the face of his family's Big Baller Brand, wearing ZO2 and ZO2.19 signature models in his first two seasons as a Laker.
Since entering the NBA, Ball has occasionally given his Big Baller Brand sneakers a rest, opting for Kobe Bryant's signature Nike models instead. In ESPN's report about the Lakers questioning Ball about his shoes, he cited sneakers endorsed by Bryant and current teammate LeBron James as two he prefers when not wearing BBB.
I feel comfortable. If I wasn't comfortable, I wouldn't play in 'em. If I didn't play in [his signature BBB shoes], I'd play in Kobe [Bryant's signature Nike shoe]. I work out in [LeBron James' signature Nike shoe], but that's because they're heavier.
Because of his situation, Ball could seemingly make the jump from Big Baller Brand to a larger company at any point. As of now, nothing has been reported or confirmed, but coupled with yesterday's news, there's enough reason to speculate. In the past, the Ball family expressed a desire for a co-branding venture with Big Baller Brand in any deal Lonzo signed with a major sneaker company, but after two up-and-down seasons, money possibly being stolen by his business manager and BBB's buzz fading, it may be time to get serious about securing the bag.