Yesterday story released that LaVar Ball ex football player and farther to NBA draft prospect Lonzo Ball "Blew" a multi million dollar shoe deal with sneaker giants Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor for his son. In case you haven't heard I'll ive a little back story. LaVar Ball is a retired American football player. He played professionally with the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football and was a practice squad member of the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers in the National Football League.
He has gained popularity recently however, for his boisterous statements and clams such as how he felt his son Lonzo was a better basketball player than two-time MVP Steph Curry. One can excuse this as a supportive dad validating his son's talent, but it didn't stop there. Perhaps his most ridicules mutterings is when he stated that he could have beat Michael Jordan in there primes despite the fact Lavar only averaged 2.2 points per game when he played college basketball. Lavar would later go on to announce the release of his own athletic clothing line know as Big Baller Brand, and here's where it gets interesting.
Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour were all interested in signing Lonzo as the three footwear giants commonly battle it out for singing rights of top promising talent and Lonzo is currently projected to go as high as second in the NBA draft. However negotiations soured when father Lavar insisted that whoever his son signs with not only license his Big Baller Brand but he also presented a mock up of a sneaker design what would be included from there BBB line. This apparently turned off all three companies so much that they opted to pass on Lonzo all together, and this sparked an uproar all over the web.
Many have lamented Lavar for his attempts, or perhaps because he is such a polarizing figure that can easily be taken either way positive or negative. But I propose a different view on the subject, was Lavar's move really a bonehead play? Really, why should a promising young talent with loads of potential sign on to a deal in which he would essentially be making a fraction of the true profits? Its bad enough which ever NBA team he signs to will the very same, but why choose to be taken twice especially if you may have a bit more leverage in one area. Because despite the fact that many consider Lavar Ball to be the type of guy they would want to have a beer with, he dose have leverage in this area (or he had it).
Above: Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo, sons of LaVar Ball
As previously mentioned Lonzo Ball is a highly projected talent, so much so that the big 3 brands were originally looking to knuckle up for. Lavar also has 2 other highly touted sons how could very well make waves aswell over the next foreseeable future. And yes Lonzo has never dribbled on an NBA court and we don't yet know if he will boom or bust but if he is a success it could be huge in more ways than one.
The thing about modern fashion is you really need 3 things to succeed, timing, hype, and aesthetic value. Lavar had 2 of the 3. I recently stopped by to take a look at the Big Baller Brand site and I was underwhelmed to say the least, they fail big time in the design area. You may have seen a few of the tees and hats worn by Lavar and Lonzo in there recent interviews, but what you see there is basically what you get. T shirt designs that look like any 12 year old could have done on Photoshop in 10 mins. with prices set through shear wishful thinking. Photos of the mock ups shown in there meetings have not surfaced yet but from the looks of the other apparel there's no reason to think they were anything short of horrible. Lavar went so far as admitting he had been working on the shoe design since Lonzo was born, and this is how he fails.
Had he gotten with a talented design team and produced quality product he would be in a different space right now. With upstart lifestyle brands at an all time high, and hype driven trends at a zenith at it's core it wasn't a horrible idea just poorly executed ultimately. Had the design been there they could have partnered with just about anybody and the "machine of hype" would have taken over. Bold decisions often leave one in the position of looking either the genius or the idiot, if they work they are revolutionary but if they fail everyone questions what the hell you were thinking.
Lavar Ball ultimately crapped out on this one but one must ask, is he on to something? We have already seen the "deregulation" if you will of fashion, could it be next for the sneaker game? I for one think it would be a good thing. There was a time where only about 5-7 brands were deemed socially acceptable for a certain type of fashion forward individual now we have so many more. This would be a breath of fresh air for the sneaker game, it would give more people the chance to get there visions out. The moral to the story is, you may not agree with Lavar Ball or his business practices but the man just may be on to something.