Sponsors shun NBA draft prospect
Los Angeles (AFP) – The father of top NBA Draft prospect Lonzo Ball revealed Friday that sporting goods giants Nike, Under Armour and Adidas have all spurned deals with his son.
LaVar Ball, who has attracted criticism for a series of outspoken comments in recent months, said all three firms had informed him they would not seek an endorsement deal with former UCLA point guard Lonzo.
Lonzo Ball will be a lottery pick in the draft after one season at UCLA. Younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball have also committed to UCLA.
LaVar Ball raised eyebrows earlier this year by stating that an endorsement package for his sons would be worth $1 billion in conjunction with his own “Big Baller Brand.”
However, Ball told ESPN that all three companies had passed on a deal, indicating they were unwilling to agree to his terms.
“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar Ball 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.
“Just imagine how rich Tiger (Woods), Kobe (Bryant), Serena (Williams), (Michael) Jordan and LeBron (James) would have been if they dared to do their own thing. No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do and I have three sons so it’s that much more valuable.”
Lonzo Ball averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and an NCAA-best 7.6 assists per game this season, propelling him to first-team All-American honors.
LaVar Ball, meanwhile, said he was ready to launch his own line of sports shoes.
“We’re not going to sign with a company and then wait around for five or six years for a shoe like Paul George had to wait for with Nike,” Ball told ESPN.
“I’ve been working on that shoe ever since my boys were born.”