Last week, the internet blew up about Lonzo Ball not getting a deal with any of the 3 major shoe companies; Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. This is unusual because top draft prospects usually get an endorsement offer from one of these three brands.
It is assumed that these companies didn’t offer Lonzo an endorsement due to conflicting ideas with LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s father. Below is a list of LaVar’s expectations of these companies, and reasons why no shoe company should agree to these demands.
1) Co-Branding/Licensing Big Baller Brand
The Ball Family wants Lonzo’s shoe endorsement deal to include a licensing agreement, where the company co-brands with Big Baller Brand. Currently, Big Baller Brand sells shirts, sweatshirts, and hats with two to three basic designs. The vision of this deal is a relationship similar to that of Jordan and Nike.
The apparel line is named Big Baller Brand; I get it, it’s sort of cute because their last name is ball. However, the reality is that no one over the age of 13 really wants to have Big Baller Brand written in huge letters across their chest. Not to mention, their logo has a resemblance to New Balance, and we all know how much the sneaker world loves those iconic old man sneakers.
So, LaVar Ball wants a sneaker company to license his brand that has a terrible name, a limited target audience, and is built around three kids who haven’t proven themselves to be successful professionally. On the other hand; Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas all have the capacity to easily produce merchandise with the Ball’s designs. But currently these companies can print almost any other cheesy saying they want to, without giving a dividend to the Ball Family.
2) Shoe Deal
Along with co-branding Big Baller Brand, LaVar Ball wants a shoe deal. Ball has been drafting a prototype of this signature sneaker ever since his kids were little. He expects his sneaker to sell in the $200 range.
Currently there are only 17 NBA players with their own signature sneaker, and most of these players have arguably earned them. 10 of the 17 have their sneakers with Adidas, Under Armour, or Nike/Jordan. The other 7 have sneakers that are made by Chinese brands, and not all of their sneakers are available for sale in the United States.
3) Including all three sons
In addition to co-branding and producing a signature sneaker, LaVar wants a $1 billion endorsement deal that would include his two younger sons in addition to Lonzo.
I told my boys that you’re born to go pro. Everything is lined up for you to do that, from your genes to your last name.— Lavar Ball (@Lavarbigballer) May 3, 2017
The Gasols, the Lopez Brothers, Markieff and Marcus, and Steph and that other guy are all examples of siblings in the NBA. Notice this list doesn’t include players who have brothers who actually didn’t make it in the NBA, and only one player from that list has a signature sneaker. If I am Nike, there is no way I am going to give Lonzo Ball, who hasn’t played a minute in the NBA, a signature sneaker. Especially when I can give one to Giannis Antetokounmpo or Anthony Davis and know it will sell.
Not to mention that the other two brothers are younger than Lonzo, and a sneaker company signing any kind of an endorsement deal with them would be breaking NCAA eligibility.
BEST CASE SCENARIOS
Obviously the best case scenario would be Adidas, Nike or Under Armour returning to the table and granting all of the Ball’s wishes. Assuming this is out of the question, here’s what could happen.
- A Chinese brand (Peak, Anta, Li-Ning) signs Lonzo and agrees to co-brand with Big Baller Brand. They make Lonzo his own signature sneaker and verbally agree to sign the younger brothers when they enter the draft. Lonzo’s sneaker does not sell for $200 because no one will buy an off-brand sneaker for that much. His sneaker doesn’t have the latest technology and it doesn’t sell in the United States until proven successful in local markets.
- The Balls accept a different deal from a company that has no business making sneakers, but has a huge following. A business in this category would be like Amazon, or Facebook. They don’t sell the sneakers for $200, because it’s not competitive enough for their users. The shoe isn’t made well, and Lonzo is stuck wearing his low-quality, heavy-weight shoes in games.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
The Ball Family doesn’t get an offer that is even close to what they want. They end up signing a small endorsement deal or no deal at all. One of the brothers actually pans out as an NBA player, and the other two swap back and forth from the G-League.
Haters gonna hate, but BBB gonna be great.— Lavar Ball (@Lavarbigballer) May 2, 2017