Back on Oct. 27, Lonzo Ball celebrated his 22nd birthday, with three games under his belt as a New Orleans Pelican. That day, he met with his father LaVar Ball, who took the opportunity to pitch him on the relaunch of the failed Big Baller Brand.
As a rookie, Lonzo Ball became the face of his father’s startup apparel company, which famously featured uber-expensive sneakers of questionable quality. The former UCLA point guard was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, very much in line with his father’s plan for him, No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.
While he had some bright moments as a Laker, ultimately he didn’t quite reach the ceiling that the team was looking for. Once LeBron James joined the franchise, and it began its pursuit of Anthony Davis, it became clear that Ball was not long for L.A. He was eventually included as a major piece in the trade between the Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans, which paired Davis with James.
Last year also saw the downfall of Big Baller Brand. LaVar Ball’s business associate Alan Foster allegedly embezzled upwards of $2 million from the company, reportedly costing Lonzo Ball in particular. During the most recent episode of Facebook’s Ball In The Family, which was shot in late October, around the point guard’s birthday, he did not look amused when asked if he lost a lot of money in the company due to Foster and its other struggles. With a deadpan stare at the camera, he answered with “you could say that… depends on who you’re talking to.”
In LaVar’s latest pitch to his son, who doesn’t seem very interested in re-upping with his father’s company as he looks to relaunch things, he once again calls for the sons to pool their money together, saying that it will be the thing that start to attract others to the company, including venture capitalists (whose money he doesn’t appear to think they need.)
“We put all our money together, that’s when the venture capitalists come in and say ‘We got $100 mill for y’all.’ We don’t need to have $100 mill, we got it right here, if we put out s–t together.”
Based on the look that Lonzo Ball gave, it doesn’t appear that he’s super inclined to give it another shot with BBB, especially with how he’s criticized the product in the past. Back in September, Lonzo and LaVar got into a heated conversation, after the guard suggested rebranding the company, moving off of the “Big Baller Brand” name, with the damage that has already been done to it.
LaVar responded by calling his son, who had been traded to New Orleans at the point, “damaged goods.”
On the court, Ball has seen a decent uptick in play as of late, as the Pelicans improve with the return of Zion Williamson. In 45 games, he’s averaging 11.9 points and a team-high 6.7 assists per game. Perhaps most importantly, he’s shooting over 36-percent from three point range, a major issue for him in Los Angeles.