Lonzo Ball is just a couple of months away from likely being a top-three NBA pick. Whichever team ultimately chooses Ball will also be selecting his father, LaVar. The elder Ball is heavily invested in his children and is looking for a company to partner with them.
However, nobody's biting on a deal. Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all turned Ball down. LaVar was looking for a company that would license his upstart Big Baller Brand. After the American companies rejected his deal, Ball said he'd reach out to Chinese companies. However, those brands are usually looking for established NBA players who are nearing the end of their careers, not incoming rookies.
Of course, LaVar isn't used to taking no for an answer, so he's simply going to produce the shoes himself. He recently unveiled a prototype for Lonzo's first shoe, the ZO2 Prime. The shoes, which will be available starting in November, cost $495 per pair. If you want them autographed by Lonzo, they cost $995. Even a pair of sandals will run consumers $220.
The Sports World is Forever Changed. Introducing Lonzo's 1st Signature Shoe: The ZO2 Prime. pic.twitter.com/5JN1OLxlZS
— Big Baller Brand (@bigballerbrand) May 4, 2017
LaVar, who claimed he's been working on the shoes ever since his boys were born, defended the high price tag while saying sales are "going good."
"I figure that's what the shoe is worth," Ball said. "When you are your own owner you can come up with any price you want."
The main ZO2 Prime shoe has a "microfiber python texture" in matte black and a "Delorean finish," according to the website.
While a pair of Jordans in the past couple of years did reach the $400 threshold, most shoes hover in the range of $100 to $150. LaVar believes companies will eventually regret not partnering with him and his sons.
"We've said from the beginning, we aren't looking for an endorsement deal," LaVar said in an interview with 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."
We'll see just how revolutionary this business model turns out to be. For now, LaVar is doing whatever it takes to keep his sons – and himself – in the spotlight.