May 4, 2017 will mark the day Big Baller Brand broke trends and officially staked their claim in the shoe game—for better, or worse.
Lavar Ball, the elder statesman of the Big Baller Brand, made headlines during his son Lonzo Ball’s freshman season at UCLA. Usually, it was for the outlandish stuff that would come out of his mouth. He predicted UCLA would win the National Championship in November—not that crazy. He said his son Lonzo would only play for the Los Angeles Lakers—alright, now we’re getting somewhere. He made the claim that Lonzo is better than Steph Curry—he’s most certainly not. And then he blew the top off the crazy hot-take scale by saying he would have beat Michael Jordan one-on-one.
In March, he may have made his boldest—and most costly claim—setting the price to sign his trio of sons to a shoe deal at $1 billion.
In the weeks after, Lavar and Nike became inseparable in headlines. Co-founder of Nike Phil Knight wished Lavar Ball the best of luck in getting that $1 billion figure, but admitted that the price was a little too rich, even for the shoe king of the world. Even after Lavar earned the moniker of being “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years” by Nike executive George Raveling, Lavar wouldn’t resist firing back. But on Thursday, the Big Baller Brand dropped a bombshell: Lonzo will be the first NBA player to independently release a signature shoe before entering the NBA Draft.
Nearly everything that comes from the Big Baller Brand camp is the brainchild of Lavar, and it’s science at this point, it’s formulaic—it’s all braggadocious posturing with capitalist intentions. But all of the talk from Lavar comes at no real cost to him, he’s the crazy sports dad who is promoting his son. But nearly all of the pressure rests squarely on the shoulders of his eldest son Lonzo, the UCLA point guard phenom who will almost assuredly be either the first or second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
That withstanding, it’s Lonzo Ball who teamed with SLAM to unveil his shoe, the ZO2, through a video promo you can watch and read about here. The ZO2, which will be available in November of this year, retails for $495 on the Big Baller Brand website. If that’s a little too rich for your taste, he has a pair of slides that will only set you back $220.
Here’s a sampling of how Lions players—both young and old—responded to the latest reveal from Big Baller Brand (and some grades for each of their tweets):
Analysis: “Like Mike” lives forever thanks to social media. If some unsuspecting guard catches fire from the field, he’s liable to get some type of Calvin Cambridge tweet tossed his way. Tate also showed respect to Bow Wow, calling him by his grown-up stage name.
Analysis: They absolutely are out of their mind. 13 is an unlucky number though, Ebron, and with 13 laughing emojis, it’s hard not to think about things associated with that number...
Analysis: Laughing emojis are a solid way to react. Nothing more, nothing less. Passing grade.
Analysis: Being in a state of shock when it comes to seeing the price of these slides can probably be best described as “Wow...” Also, bonus points for using an ellipse correctly.
Lavar Ball lost his mind lol thinking ppl gonna drop $495 for those kicks— Kenny Golladay (@kgxix19) May 5, 2017
Analysis: Big fan of the upside down smile emoji because it connotes this sense of “I’m smiling but I’m also looking at you and your ridiculous actions and matching their inherent craziness while maintaining a positive attitude.”
Like I said, big fan.
I'm absolutely not going to lie about this one... These shoes are not that bad at all as a basketball shoe. @ me https://t.co/YrGDgn9n4A— Jalen Reeves-Maybin (@ReevesMaybin) May 4, 2017
Analysis: Good luck and godspeed, Jalen.
And the best advice I can pass along to any kids looking to get some new sneakers before next season starts up: