Would LaVar Ball do well on the hit show Shark Tank with his Big Baller Brand? According to shark Daymond John... maybe.
John, who founded FUBU and is reportedly worth $250 million, went on the Rich Eisen Show on Monday and discussed the Big Baller Brand rollout, and $500 price point for Lonzo Ball's debut sneaker. He came away with some mixed thoughts on Ball's products and strategy.
John is cautiously optimistic about what Ball is doing, if the sneaker that he has made is of extremely high quality, considering the eye-popping price point.
"These things better be well made at $500... now, he has two things. If he doesn't sell many of them, he doesn't have to tell anybody. If he sells out of all of them, that's a proof of concept for Nike and adidas and all of those people. It's just a big gamble in making a shoe of scratch. If you just go buy a shoe that's already out there from China and you stamp it, people are going to know. It can go either way, but I'm not mad at the initiative he's taking. Maybe that's why he's charging $500, because maybe it's some kind of custom-made shoe that he's getting."
John thinks that it is a decent gamble, and could work if Ball sells out the shoes and then goes back to the sneaker giants with the info he's collected on his limited sales.
"It's a good gamble. I probably don't disagree with him but he has to be careful. If he starts to overextend himself and then say 'Hey, I'm going to build a big shoe company,' that may be challenging."
The 'shark' didn't like Ball's response to critics of the price-tag, even as someone who could easily afford a pair of ZO2s.
“That’s a little raw,” John said. “That’s a little in your face because honestly, I’m a ‘big baller,’ I promise you that, but I’m not paying $500 for shoes.”
He was also not a fan of hearing about the $220 sandals, which are also for sale through Big Baller Brand.
"That's too much inventory, that's too many SKUs as we call it.... You have to master the one thing you do the best."
Ultimately, John would be interested if Ball was on Shark Tank, if he takes a low-risk approach.
"It all depends. If you're doing this preorder and then you're getting the money first and then you are purchasing it because you have this bed, amount of buyers, absolutely, but if you're going to go out and take $100,000 and buy a bunch of shoes and then hope you're going to sell them, I don't want to do it."
To Ball's credit, as far as we can tell, that does seem to be what he's doing. Ball says that he has sold over $250,000 worth of product so far, which would be over 500 pairs of sneakers, though likely includes some combination of shoes, hats, shirts, and obscenely expensive sandals.