LaVar Ball always shoots for the moon, whether it has to do with the Big Baller Brand line or with his various feuds off the court. Now, the patriarch of the Ball family wants to set his eyes on something really ambitious: A basketball league for those who don’t want to play in college.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell writes that Ball is starting the Junior Basketball Association, which is designed to attract nationally-ranked players that don’t want to take what conventional wisdom says is the next logical step in a hoops career. It will compensate players, and if all goes right, the teams will play in NBA arenas in a handful of major cities.
Ball’s Junior Basketball Association, which he says is fully funded by his Big Baller Brand, plans to pay the lowest-ranked player a salary of $3,000 a month and the best player $10,000 a month, Ball said. Ball is looking for 80 players to fill 10 teams that will seek to play at NBA arenas in Los Angeles, Dallas, Brooklyn and Atlanta.
Ball thinks it will be “easy” to attract players, saying “This is giving guys a chance to get a jump start on their career, to be seen by pro scouts, and we’re going to pay them because someone has to pay these kids.” Oh, and because the league is paid for by Big Baller Brand, everyone who joins will wears the company’s gear.
Additionally, Ball said that he was partially motivated by a series of comments NCAA president Mark Emmert made about him. Emmert said that he believes college should be about student-athletes and not a pit stop on your way to a professional career, which Ball said is actually the correct take.
“Those kids who are one and done, they shouldn’t be there with the NCAA trying to hold them hostage, not allowing them to keep the jersey they wear while selling replicas of them in stores,” Ball told Rovell. “So our guy isn’t going to go to Florida State for a year. He’s going to come to our league.”
While LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball are not participating in the league and their father says he has a ton of work to do, it’s kind of amazing that he actually wants to establish something to go head-to-head with the NCAA. Plenty of sports leagues have popped up with the hopes of dethroning the established leagues throughout American history, and they generally all fail.
Who knows if this one will work out, but I feel fairly confident in saying that LaVar Ball is going to do all he can to make this a viable option for those who don’t want to spend their year between high school and the NBA going through the charade of amateurism.