For reasons I wish weren’t true, a consensus top-3 pick in the 2017 Draft isn’t the most talked about member of his family. That would be his father, Lavar.
Lavar Ball has made headline after headline over the past couple months, presumably to draw attention to his company, Big Baller Brand. The shenanigans have ranged from claiming his sons deserve a $1 billion shoe deal, to blaming the white players for UCLA’s tournament loss, to claiming that he could beat prime Michael Jordan in a 1v1.
To any sane human being, the comments are nonsense. A marketing “strategy”, if you can even call it that.
The latest Lavar headline hasn’t been because of his outrageous comments, however.
The three giants in the sports world, keen on recruiting sponsored athletes, all declined a deal with Lonzo Ball. Nike, Reebok and Under Armour all said no, which is unprecedented in the modern NBA. Never has such a highly-touted recruit been declined by the major sneaker companies.
LaVar Ball walking into Sketchers offices pic.twitter.com/f132W6nZKc
— Brody Logan (@BrodyLogan) April 28, 2017
So naturally, the focus shifted back to Lavar. Surely it was his nonsensical comments that forced the companies to decline. They don’t want to have to deal with him, and the PR nightmares that he brings along. Right? Right??
But that’s not the case. Though, Lavar is the reason they declined, it’s not because of his shenanigans. It’s because of the Big Baller Brand.
Lavar approached the negotiating table with the idea that these major companies will for some reason want to license his unknown brand, whose sales depend solely on the popularity of his kids.
When companies license something, it’s usually a patented technology, and can only be obtained through a licensing deal. An example of a good licensing deal would be Disney and LucasFilm. In 2015, Disney made $57 billion gross revenue on Star Wars paraphernalia, which they only had the right to produce because of a deal with LucasFilm.
The deal ended up working because much of Star Wars is copyrighted, and Disney wouldn’t be able to sell such products any other way.
So why on Earth would a giant like Nike want to take on an unknown brand that provides nothing unique. The Big Baller Brand is genuinely the least creative business I’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing, and, as mentioned, its sales will fluctuate as the popularity of the Ball family does. Which is why Lavar is making desperate attempts to stay in the news.
No, but seriously. This plain blue T-shirt with three letters in the corner goes for $60 on their site.
There’s only man who can sell average articles of clothing for an inflated price, and that’s Kanye West.
Try again, Lavar.