LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand has been, if nothing else, an intriguing venture into the athletic wear market that is otherwise dominated by a few large corporations, namely Nike, Jordan, adidas, and Under Armour. The release of the ZO2, Lonzo Ball’s signature shoe, created plenty of attention for the brand due to the shoe’s ridiculous $495 price point, but the pre-sale numbers have not been particularly impressive.
The question remains – and won’t be answered for years to come – whether it was a mistake for Lonzo Ball to pass up on the traditional shoe deal route to go independent. A lot of it will come down to how well Ball plays once he does make the NBA next fall, but either way, there will be those that criticize LaVar for pushing his son away from the sure-fire check in the name of trying to do something on their own – which is admirable to others.
As for what the Balls left on the table, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell during his appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, the offers on the table for Lonzo from the big shoe companies were right around the $2 million per year mark, up to five years in length meaning that Ball left $10 million to start Big Baller Brand.
Rovell notes that what has surprised him the most is that Ball hasn’t gone back in an effort to renegotiate a deal after the Lakers landed the No. 2 pick, all but assuring Ball of being in the Los Angeles market. As Rovell states, that alone could potentially launch Ball’s value from $10 million over five years to $20 million over five years.
“It’s strange to me that LaVar didn’t at least fold some of his cards and go back to the shoe companies in earnest,” Rovell said. “Like, so the original deals that Nike, adidas, Under Armour were going to offer Lonzo Ball were five years, $10 million — $2 million per year. After the Lakers thing goes down and the opinion that he’s now, the perfect scenario is going to unfold. The new deal might be five years and $20 million. Just by virtue of what happened on May 16 or whatever, the night of the lottery. But what does LaVar Ball do? Instead of saying he now wants $1 billion, he now wants $3 billion.
“I guess the story becomes more intriguing in that if he goes to the Lakers, he could’ve made much more money, maybe doubled his deal on that alone, and decided to pass. And I think that’s why this story is something that people want to read.”
We’ll see if down the road the Balls ever do fold Big Baller Brand into a larger company – if one of those companies is willing to make that happen – or if LaVar will continue to persist that he and his sons can take on the giants by themselves.