If you're even a casual basketball fan, the name "Ball" is one you know. Maybe it's because of Lonzo and his heroics on the court for UCLA this past season. Maybe it's because of LaMelo and his 92-point game. Maybe it's because of LaVarr and his outrageous statements (he claimed that he'd be able to beat Michael Jordan 1-on-1) and antics. Maybe it's because of LiAngelo and his ... well, he seems to get lost in the sauce, even though he's got game too.
The Ball family manages to stay in the headlines one way or another, and they garnered a lot of attention yesterday when they announced Lonzo's first signature sneaker, the ZO2. Unfortunately this attention was for all the wrong reasons.
Here's a quick backstory on the Ball family's footwear-related antics: LaVarr Ball had made it clear that any sneaker company that wanted to work with his sons would need to extend an umbrella contract covering all three, work with LaVarr's own "Big Baller Brand" ... and they'd also need to cough up a cool billion dollars. Yeah, that's right: a billion dollars. Even Dr. Evil didn't ask for that much when he he wanted to destroy the world in Austin Powers. Talk about a tax, right?
LaVarr was aiming to make his sons partners with a brand (an admirable thing to do), but that's just not how it works in the footwear world. Michael Jordan didn't start out as a partner. Kobe didn't start out as a partner. Tiger Woods didn't start out as a partner. In today's market you've gotta earn your stripes ... of which Lonzo has none yet. Why would a major sneaker company want to give money to a start-up that wanted to be in the same business?
This "bold" partner strategy backfired even further when it was reported that none of the three major sneaker companies (Nike, adidas, and Under Armor) were interested in signing Lonzo. We're no agents ... but we'd be willing to bet that LaVarr's big mouth and grandiose actions just might have had something to do with that. So instead of a partnership with a sneaker titan, Lonzo's first signature shoe is from LaVarr's "Big Baller Brand", a "lifestyle apparel" brand that offers $50 t-shirts with 3 B's printed on them.
We've gotta say: at first glance, the shoes (pictured at the top of this article and in the video below) aren't bad. They're reminiscent of old Kobes, and appear clean and sleek The design's not too busy, and the shoes appear as if they'd actually hold their own on the court.
However, the price washes all that away. They're $495.
That's right $495. Not $49.50, $495. Not expensive enough? You can get a special "Wet" edition, signed by Lonzo for $995. Too expensive? Well, you're in luck. You can get Lonzo-branded slides for $220. Keep in mind these are all pre-orders too. If you're willing to pay for whatever reason, you've still got to wait till November.
Lonzo's signature shoes are roughly $150 less than a pair of Balenciagas, and more than twice as expensive as the next highest-priced signature basketball sneaker, LeBron James's $175 LeBron 14's. The man hasn't played a minute of NBA basketball (or even gotten drafted yet), yet his shoes are significantly more expensive than the best player on the planet's. How does that make any sense at all? Even NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal has voiced his displeasure with the situation.
As comical and ridiculous as the whole situation is, it's also somewhat infuriating. Just when you think they're done, the Ball family keeps ratcheting up the ridiculousness ... and to what extent? Sure, the sports world is on fire talking about these shoes, but will anyone actually buy them? We think not. All LaVarr Ball is doing is putting a larger target on his son's back. Lonzo's play is plenty good enough without any hype from his pops ... we just wish it would get a chance to speak for itself.
What do you think of Lonzo Ball's $495 signature shoes? Do you think LaVarr Ball is harming his son's career with his antics? What do you think we'll see from the Ball family next? Hit us up and let us know on Twitter, check our Facebook page for updates, and, as always, be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire pictures you can handle.
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