Before LaMelo Ball leaves Australia for a career in the NBA, he wanted to make sure his impact would be felt for a long time. That’s why he and business manager Jermaine Jackson purchased the Illawarra Hawks, the team LaMelo played for in the Australian NBL.
When financial issues threatened the future of the Illawarra franchise, Jackson told ESPN that he and LaMelo stepped in to buy the club.
“Melo loves the Illawarra fans,” Jackson said to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “He loves that community. They opened their arms to him. They made us feel like we are at home. When we started hearing about the issues they were going through, we talked about it and decided, ‘Let’s own the team.'”
As news of LaMelo’s wheeling and dealing gained traction this afternoon, his older brother Lonzo reacted on social media. He sounds excited for his younger sibling.
“Different,” Lonzo wrote on Twitter, indicating his approval.
— Lonzo Ball (@ZO2_) April 2, 2020
Before an injury cut short his season, LaMelo averaged 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 12 games with Illawarra. He is eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Lonzo was the No. 2 overall pick in 2017, and LaMelo has the chance to equal or better his brother. He seems like a lock to go in the top five and could go No. 1 overall.