LaVar Ball says his son’s wearing of Nike shoes Wednesday night is about the Los Angeles Lakers rookie’s freedom to choose and has nothing to do with any negotiations with the world’s largest shoe and apparel company.
“Lonzo is not forced to wear any brand and can play in any shoe he wants as long as it’s OK with the NBA,” LaVar Ball told ESPN by text early Thursday morning. “This is what being independent is all about.”
Lonzo Ball was wearing Nikes in only his third — and best — summer league game. He scored 36 points with 11 assists, eight rebounds, five steals and two blocks in a one-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
“At BBB, you can play in what you want,” Lonzo Ball said on SportsCenter after the game. “I already played in both of my shoes, might as well get the ‘Mamba Mentality’ going. Put ’em on, and it worked out tonight.”
Even before Ball took the court at the Thomas & Mack Center, social media was buzzing about the swoosh on his shoes, which were the purple Kobe A.D.s, which hit stores July 1.
LaVar Ball engaged the major shoe companies before the NBA draft and asked for $1 billion while requiring them to license the Big Baller Brand. When the Lakers got the second pick in the lottery, Ball said the price had gone up to $3 billion.
There are “no negotiations with Nike” at this time, LaVar Ball said.
Big Baller Brand shoes cost $495 and are set to ship Nov. 24.