LaVar Ball: Lonzo Ball not in negotiations with Nike
The NBA summer league now has a sneaker controversy of sorts thanks to Lonzo Ball. But LaVar Ball, the Los Angeles Lakers rookie’s father, insists it’s much ado about nothing.
The younger Ball wore Nike sneakers during Wednesday’s summer league game against the Philadelphia 76ers. This of course was met with surprise given the Ball family’s highly publicized foray into the shoe business with their Big Baller Brand.
But LaVar Ball says just because his son wore Nike sneakers doesn’t mean that Lonzo is abandoning the family brand, saying there are “no negotiations with Nike” presently occurring.
“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 told ESPN via text Thursday morning, via a Darren Rovell report. “This is what being independent is all about.”
That doesn’t mean Ball’s decision to forgo his personally branded Big Baller Brand ZO2 sneaker went unnoticed. Even LeBron James, who of course has a longstanding endorsement deal with the Nike, took to Instagram to playfully mock the Ball family.
The Lakers rookie insists he work Nikes simply as a tribute to the iconic Kobe Bryant.
“At BBB, you can play in what you want,” he said on “SportsCenter” following 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.”
The sneaker saga aside, Ball, as he alluded to, enjoyed a breakout performance in a one-point win, scoring 36 points to go along with 11 assists, eight rebounds, five steals and two blocks.