Lonzo Ball is one of a kind.
The potential No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft will not receive an endorsement deal from Nike, Under Armour or Adidas, making him the first anticipated top draftee to be spurned by all three sneaker giants, ESPN reported.
The reason behind the three companies spurning the superstar college freshman? You guessed it: his loudmouth father, LaVar.
The Ball patriarch, who seems to make every decision for Lonzo and his UCLA-bound younger brothers, insisted the brands license his gimmicky lifestyle brand, Big Baller Brand. LaVar told ESPN the family isn’t “looking for an endorsement deal,” but rather a partner to help distribute their brand.
LaVar also reportedly presented the companies a mock-up of a shoe that he hoped would be Lonzo’s first sneaker, and said he’s been working on a shoe design “ever since my boys were born.”
Nike CEO Phil Knight previously said the company had interest in signing Lonzo, but was wary of the asking price after LaVar threw around a $1 billion figure for a 10-year contract that also would cover his sons LiAngelo and LaMelo.
Then, in late April, Nike executive George Raveling ripped LaVar, saying the overbearing dad is “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.”
LaVar’s greatest hits include saying he “would kill” Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one during his own playing days and boasting that Lonzo is better than Steph Curry.
Lonzo declared for the draft minutes after UCLA lost to Kentucky, 86-75, in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. In his only season at UCLA, Lonzo averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game.
Aussie Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick at the 2016 NBA draft, signed a shoe endorsement deal with Nike worth a guaranteed $20 million over five years. The deal could be worth more than $40 million over five years — if he hits certain performance indicator numbers.
That’s a lot of money LaVar has cost his son — and the internet is laughing in his face, just like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.
Damn, Lonzo is going to be playing in Big Baller Converses. His ACL won't stand a chance.
— Zito (@_Zeets) April 28, 2017
Lonzo Ball gonna be the first NBA player who has to still buy his shoes at Foot Locker ? pic.twitter.com/UlGVBOKFTz
— One Take At A Time (@OneTakeAtATime) April 28, 2017
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeagueTSL) April 28, 2017
I feel like Lonzo Ball might be looking at his pops the same way Paul George was looking at CJ Miles in Gm 1.
"Shoot your shot…not MINE!" pic.twitter.com/SUFWjSPbqM
— Marshall Harris (@mharrisCSN) April 28, 2017
A look at Lonzo Ball showing off his new Big Baller Brand shoes to his future NBA teammates https://t.co/FosQKYDLNv
— Joe Schiller (@JoeSchillerr) April 28, 2017
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