The Junior Basketball Association, LaVar Ball’s recently-started league with the stated goal of giving kids the opportunity to play professional basketball straight out of high school, wrapped its season up this week with the championship game in Ontario, California.
The Los Angeles team, led by Ball’s sons LaMelo and LiAngelo, won the championship with a 132-121 win over Seattle in the title game. The Ball boys combined for 92 points (while shooting 34-for-76 from the field) in yet another ridiculous looking box score. All the players on L.A. were given new Cadillacs for their role on the title-winning team, as a special perk for the champs.
There are plenty of questions about the league going forward, namely because it didn’t generate too much buzz, but Year 1 appeared to go off without too much of a hitch. That was until Thursday, when Thomas Duffy of Cycle reported he spoke to a former player, Brandon Phillips, who had yet to receive his final two checks from the league and claimed he was made to pay baggage fees on flights and only got a third of his promised salary.
Part of the promise of the JBA was that players would make a healthy salary for the season and have the chance to prove their talents outside of the NCAA construct. If this is true, it’s certainly not a great look for Ball’s league and would indicate there are major issues to be resolved. We’ll have to wait to hear if other players voice similar complaints about not getting paid, or if this is an isolated incident. One would expect Ball, never shy with speaking out, to respond to this claim at some point, though.