Big Baller Brand has changed how other basketball players will think about signing with well known brands like Nike and Adidas. BBB initially showed interest in a distribution deal with one of the established shoe companies but it did not work out and now they seem to have the ball in the court, in what may turn into a bidding war.
Lonzo Ball has had success in the summer league. In the recent game on July 16, 2017 Ball scored 16 points with 10 assists against the Dallas Mavericks to get the Los Angeles Lakers to the finals in the Las Vegas Summer League. He will reportedly sit out of the Championship game but his recent decision to wear Adidas, Under Armor and Nike in different games in summer league has sparked an interest in his sneakers and has companies looking BBB’s way.
Ball has been compared to Russell Westbrook with the way that he has been getting triple-doubles in the summer league. Nobody had ever gotten a triple-double in the summer league Las Vegas play in its 13 years of existence. After a horrible debut, Ball recorded two consecutive games with a triple-double and on Saturday he had one in the quarterfinals with a 16 point, 12 assist, and 10 rebound game against the Cleveland Cavaliers to advance after winning the game 94-83.
Before that, in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers Ball scored 36 points in a tight game to help the Lakers advance to the playoffs last Wednesday. All this has opened the eyes of the bigger companies that distribute shoe deals. Ball’s success would be the big factor if BBB was to succeed and so far he has been able to live up to the expectations placed upon him mainly by his obnoxious father.
Lonzo Ball’s dad, LaVar, has been questioned about his outlandish antics, which range from him claiming that he could beat Michael Jordan one on one and selling his independent brand sneakers for $495 but now with Lonzo’s success he has been able to have the last laugh.
Independent brands like Stephon Marbury’s, Starbury brand did not get much traction on the mainstream market but with Lonzo’s star power and the LA market, BBB may have a better fate, which would be interesting to see. The use of social media has been crucial to the success of the Brand with the three Ball brothers Lonzo, LiAngelo and LeMelo all having a strong following on social media. That is a major difference between Starbury and BBB. Starbury fell victim to the lack of technology of the time and his star began to fade once he left the NBA, to pursue a career in China.
Lonzo has been in headlines as of late and drowned with criticism and confusion due to his decision to endorse other sneakers instead of hi ZO2s but LaVar has said that the goal from that was to show how flexible and independent the company actually is. Lonzo was seen in the Kobe ADs and the Hardens in Summer League. Kobe’s shoes are made by Nike and James Harden’s shoes are made by Adidas.
BBB has definitely presented an innovative strategy in terms of how athletes sell sneakers. BBB proves that basketball players do not have to be tied down to wearing one brand for the rest of their life via an endorsement deal.
Adidas sent Harden a truck full of Adidas shoes when he was spotted still wearing Nike. If Harden was signed to BBB he would not have to just wear Adidas for the rest of his career. Harden is probably not worried about that with the $200 million dollar deal he signed with Adidas and the $228 million dollar extension he signed with the Rockets but a little thing like waking up in the morning and deciding what shoe to wear and not having the freedom to wear whatever you want can make you question if the money is worth it.
At Harden’s level I doubt that he’s worried about that but what about the every day NBA player who’s shoe contract is not that high? BBB is selling back fun and freedom and everybody is paying attention.