LaVar Ball, patriarch to a trio of fledgling basketball stars, has made quite a name for himself the past year with his boorish personality and relentless self-marketing. The height of the absurdity came a few months back when he announced that the first signature shoe from his Big Baller Brand sneaker and apparel company, the ZO2, would retail for an astounding $495.
The backlash was swift, but at least one high-profile celebrity is on-board with BBB and LaVar’s general entrepreneurial spirit. On a recent episode of the Rap Radar podcast on Tidal, Jay Z said that while LaVar has admittedly rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, he respects the hustle and even invested in a few pairs of the exorbitantly-priced sneakers.
LaVar Ball, he said, ‘I’m gonna start my own company.’ Everybody’s like, ‘You should sign to Nike.’ He may go about things wrong. He may have a big mouth. But I bought three pairs. I didn’t get ‘em. But that man has a vision of his own. Why wouldn’t I support him? Why wouldn’t I support him? He feels like he can move culture and his son got a big enough name and a big enough brand that they can do it.
Nike had to start somewhere. Why do we get so upset when we, as a culture, want to start our own sh*t? That sh*t is puzzling to me. I sit back and I’m like, this makes no sense. Why can’t he start a sneaker? ‘Oh, his sneakers are terrible.’ Remember, I’m not being negative towards anyone. I’ve seen some bad sneakers from Under Armour. I’ve seen bad Michael Jordan sneakers.
It makes sense that Jay Z would identify with someone trying to build their brand from the ground up. He’s often rhymed about how he started as a street hustler and through sheer, indomitable will transformed himself into the music and fashion icon he is today. And Hova has so much cultural cachet that this type of endorsement could really help put Big Baller Brand on the map.