Lonzo Ball and Nike?
The Los Angeles Laker sparked rumors of a move to the Swoosh with an Instagram posted yesterday.
The post shows an image of the 21-year-old from the waist up, with text reading “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it” in a similar font to that used by Nike in its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign.
The photo’s caption — Moving on to bigger and better #MyOwnMan — also had fans wondering if a partnership between Nike and Ball could be in the works.
Ball went a nontraditional route as a rookie, choosing to sign with his father’s brand, the Big Baller Brand, rather than a big name like Nike or Adidas. The first-rounder’s father, the outspoken LaVar, had advocated for what would have been an unprecedented sponsorship deal, with a generous profit split and signature shoe in Ball’s rookie season.
Ultimately, no brand could meet the Balls’ terms, and the younger Ball stuck with his father’s BBB. But the cryptic post comes amid trouble in Big Baller Brand camp.
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On March 22, Lonzo Ball revealed that he had severed ties with BBB co-founder Alan Foster, whom he accused of stealing $1.5 million from his business and personal accounts.
The basketball star claimed in an interview with ESPN that Foster had “used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately.”
In the same ESPN piece, Ball revealed that the Lakers had expressed concern about his BBB sneakers. The team reportedly questioned whether the basketballer’s injuries were a direct result of his footwear.
“Yeah, they talked to me,” he said. “They asked me about it, and I told ’em, ‘I feel comfortable. If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t play in ’em. If I didn’t play in [his signature BBB shoes], I’d play in Kobe [Bryant’s signature Nike shoe]. I work out in [LeBron James’ signature Nike shoe], but that’s because they’re heavier.“
FN has reached out to Nike for comment.