LaVar Ball says Lonzo wearing different shoes is a statement to brands


LaVar Ball admits his son's wearing of different shoes serves as both a temptation and an invitation to the brands that passed on him.

"It's making a statement to the brands of what they could have had with an open mind," the patriarch said via text message. "The players are the brand ambassadors. The brand is nothing without the players."

Asked whether there's still a chance that a big shoe brand can sign his son Lonzo Ball, LaVar responded: "If the price is right. Quite frankly we are officially in the shoe game, and are a billion dollar brand either way."

The Los Angeles Lakers' first round pick has played four games in the NBA's summer league. In the first two games, he wore his own Big Baller Brand signature shoe. For the third game he wore Nike, and for the fourth Adidas. Ball told ESPN before Saturday's game against the Brooklyn Nets he'd wear Stephen Curry's Under Armour shoes.?

Ball has garnered more attention in the last two games, not only for his surprising choice of shoes -- steering away from the Big Baller Brand upstart that has sold its shoes, priced at $495, online and will ship on Nov. 23 -- but also because of how well he's played.?

Both LaVar and Lonzo said wearing different shoe brands has to do with the independence Lonzo has to switch things up. But some insiders in the shoe industry thought it was strange that Lonzo was wearing other brands so soon.

In negotiations with the big brands -- Nike, Adidas and Under Armour -- LaVar made it known that he was looking for $1 billion and wanted those brands to sublicense his Big Baller Brand. The shoe brands quickly passed. Days later, the first Big Baller Brand shoes launched on the company website.

Industry sources said the traditional companies have offered Ball deals in the range of $1.5 million per year. Playing on the Lakers, plus the power of his holdout, could boost that up over $2 million a year.

That's a long way from a billion.

Through his first four games, Ball is averaging 17 points and a summer league-leading 9.8 assists per game.