Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball had his best summer league game yet on Wednesday night, but it wasn’t just his performance that had everybody talking — it was his choice of footwear too.
Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, is the founder and CEO of the sports apparel company Big Baller Brand, launched in 2016. The younger Ball wore his signature Big Baller Brand shoes, the ZO2s, in his first two summer league games, but he opted for a pair of Nikes for Wednesday’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Lonzo Ball’s choice, the purple Kobe A.D.s, just hit stores on July 1. He wore them throughout the contest, posting totals of 36 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in the 103-102 victory.
“At BBB, you can play in what you want,” he said after the game. “I already played in both of my shoes, might as well get the ‘Mamba Mentality’ going. Put ’em on, and it worked out tonight.”
Lonzo Ball’s new look drew attention from all kinds of people, including LeBron James, who signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015. Check out the Instagram video he posted last night.
Big Baller Brand has been a hot topic this offseason. LaVar Ball made headlines when he asked companies for a $US1 billion licensing deal (and later raised his price to $US3 billion), and fans were livid when it was announced that a pair of ZO2s, slated to become available to the public in November, will cost nearly $US500.
Still, LaVar Ball emphasised that his firstborn son is under no obligation to sport the family brand.
“Lonzo is not forced to wear any brand and can play in any shoe he wants as long as it’s OK with the NBA,” LaVar Ball said via text message, according to ESPN. “This is what being independent is all about.”
LaVar Ball added that there are “no negotiations with Nike” at the moment.