Lonzo ball recently woke up to some unexpected news.  Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas all announced they will not be offering an endorsement deal  to the potential number 1 draft pick. Can we blame LaVar Ball yet? 

LaVar, Lonzo’s father, has been the “voice” for Lonzo since arriving at UCLA.  He recently confirmed that the three headed giant of endorsements (Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour) have all opted to turn the other way when it comes to Lonzo Ball.

On one of his many rants that we don’t miss, LaVar emphasized he wasn’t accepting anything less than a billion dollars for any shoe/endorsement deal for all three of his sons.  LaVar founded  the “Big Baller Brand” which is what his kids are sporting now.

The thing is LaVar isn’t looking for an endorsement deal.  Instead, he’d like the shoe company to license his brand earning his “seat at the table,” as a partner to one of these major companies. 

He pitched this “partnership” idea to each of the major companies emphasizing that they’re “looking for co-branding, a true partner.” Part of the pitch even came with a prototype shoe that LaVar is hoping to be Lonzo’s first shoe. 

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal.” -LaVar Ball

When LaVar was at the peak of his fifteen minutes of fame during his eldest sons’ only season at UCLA,  we knew nothing good would come from this when it came to Lonzo but we didn’t think it would be this drastic.  Normally, any player expected to go in the first 5 picks of the draft is hounded with endorsement offers.  That’s just the way it goes.  Although this dream may not be coming true for Lonzo, LaVar may have opened up a can of worms these major companies have been trying to keep shut and in the back of the budget pantry.

In a parallel world, there’s a strong trend in the Hip Hop industry right now where artists are pushing not to sign with major record labels in order to maintain full ownership of their work. 

LaVar Ball Take a Chance

To aid in getting their music out to the world, independent artists partner with streaming companies like Apple Music and Spotify.  For the longest, record companies finance the operation for the artist while the record label takes ownership of the work.  Chicago rapper Chance The Rapper has been a strong advocate for this movement and has been very successful.

LaVar is attempting to channel his inner “Chance” with these major companies.  After being called “ the worst thing to happen to basketball in a hundred years” by Nike consultant George Raveling, LaVar is attempting to break the mold of endorsement deals and 24/7 advertising by creating a new lane of opportunity for up and coming athletes.

“But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.” – LaVar Ball

The issue is definitely not Lonzo or his two younger brothers soon to be following in his UCLA footsteps.  What LaVar is trying to do for his children makes sense and honestly, he has the talent within his three boys to do something like this.  

LaVar Ball

LaVar Ball is the issue.

The issue is LaVar’s approach. His arrogance and overall demeanor doesn’t harbor the best working relationships.  These shoe companies admire character and uniqueness in their athletes; especially when it can appeal to the masses.