LeBron James Is Proud Of Lonzo Ball For ‘Taking Control’ And Would Welcome Him To Nike

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Lonzo Ball remains out for the season for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he’s making significant moves off the court. Over the weekend it was revealed that Ball and Big Baller Brand had cut ties with Alan Foster, the company’s co-founder, after allegations arose that he may be responsible for $1.5 million missing from the Ball family.

Some interesting things came out of that story. The first is that Lonzo, not LaVar, owns the controlling stake in Big Baller Brand. That’s certainly different than what most assumed about the company, especially given who has done most of the talking about the brand over the last few years. That controlling stake was the reason why Lonzo was the one who officially cut ties with Foster over the missing money.

Another interesting revelation was found in the revised edition of that ESPN story on Monday, which is that the Lakers were concerned about Ball wearing his BBB signature shoe given his string of ankle injuries. Ball assured the Lakers that nothing’s wrong with his shoe, but it’s an interesting inquiry given the speculation that Ball may be interested in a deal with another company, namely Nike.

Over the weekend, Ball posted a cryptic Instagram message with a caption that read “moving on to bigger and better” with the hashtag #MyOwnMan. The image was of Ball in front of a number of retired jerseys hanging over the Staples Center court and the slogan “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it.”

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Moving on to bigger and better #MyOwnMan

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That slogan mirrors a similar slogan Nike has used in past advertising, and “moving on” made many wonder if Ball taking control of his professional life might mean a change in sponsorship and his signature shoe. But nothing about the post was clear and no announcement was made official. And one note that many missed was that Ball’s Lakers jersey was added to the rafters in that post, which perhaps the “crazy dream” that Ball is alluding to in the post.

That certainly didn’t slow down speculation about a move, though. And that means questions for Nike behemoth and Lakers teammate LeBron James. According to the Los Angeles Times, James was asked about Lonzo’s potential move to Nike. He said he’d welcome the Big Baller to the brand if it happened, but mostly he was glad his teammate was “taking control” of his business dealings.

“Whatever the kid decides to do, whatever brand he comes with next — if it’s with Nike obviously we would welcome him,” James told The Times. “I would definitely welcome him. I love the kid regardless of what shoes he had on. But we shall see.”

The story notes that Foster, the man he ousted from his company, was influential in swaying Ball to start his own brand and essentially make his own signature shoe instead of sign on with an existing company like Nike.

But James was more concerned with his teammate making tough business decisions and taking more active role in his financial future.

“I love the fact that he’s taking control of his [stuff],” James said. “I mean, he’s, that’s what’s really, really dope to me. Once I saw that story I just seen a kid turning into a man. ‘This is my career and I’m taking this. I done had enough with — whatever. I done had enough. Whatever. If I’m not going to be successful, I’m not going to be successful on my terms.’ I saw a lot of that. We’ll see.”

James related the decision to his own choice to leave his agent at a young age and said it’s tough to find out the people you trust aren’t always looking out for what’s best for you.

“That’s the toughest thing,” James told The Times. “Especially when you’re young like Zo, like myself coming into the league. You have to trust someone because we don’t know. You have to trust someone. And you hope that you’re guided the right way. That’s all you can do. That’s all you can hope for. When it’s not what you expect, it hurts. I know.”

Lonzo noted in his interview with ESPN that he practices in Nikes — specifically LeBrons — because they are heavier than his BBB shoes. One of the perks the Ball family expressed when they went independent is that Lonzo can wear whatever shoes he wants on or off the court, and James certainly noted that he looks good wearing his shoes.

“I mean he plays well when he has on Nikes,” James said.