UCLA Bruins freshman point guard Lonzo Ball is a top NBA prospect who’s sure to ignite a bidding war among sneaker brands upon entering the NBA draft. But it sounds like that’s only the tip of the iceberg for the family, which also includes high school ballers and Bruins commits LiAngelo and LaMelo.
In an interview with USA Today published Monday, Lonzo’s father, LaVar, dropped a bombshell announcement aimed at Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. LaVar intends to shop his sons as a package endorsement deal to the tune of $1 billion.
“A billion dollars, it has to be there. That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate,” LaVar said. “And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 million over 10 years.”
If one of the big three basketball brands doesn’t come calling, Ball may have plans to take matters into his own hands. ESPN notes that in February, LaVar expressed interest in signing Lonzo to the family’s own Big Baller Brand.
LaVar’s lofty demand is more complex than the dollar figure alone. His youngest son, LaMelo, must finish two more years of high school before suiting up in a Bruins jersey. This means that in order to protect LaMelo’s eligibility, sneaker brands wouldn’t be able to proceed with the proposed package endorsement deal until March 2020 at the earliest.
In February, LaMelo made headlines after dropping 92 points en route to Chino Hills High School’s win over Los Osos High School.
Matt Powell, VP and sports industry analyst of The NPD Group, offered his take on the potential endorsement deal. “With all respect to the Ball family, no group of players are worth that kind of money,” Powell told Footwear News.