If you follow college basketball, you already know who LaVar Ball is, but his latest pronouncement might stun even those who have become accustomed to his bombastic assertions.
This is about money. And it reinforces what already seemed like a father’s plan to run the careers/lives of his three sons.
He wants a $1 billion deal from any shoe company that wants to brand its stuff with the family name. For an endorsement involving all three sons.
And if not, LaVar has trademarked a name — Big Baller Brand — that apparently could serve to be built around his sons. The four of them appear to be wearing the logo in this group photo.
Here is what he told USA Today in a story that appeared yesterday:
“A billion dollars, it has to be there.
“That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 million a year.”
It is believed only LeBron James ever has had a shoe contract worth $1 billion. But that’s because he is LeBron James, three-time champion, etc.
Michael Jordan currently has a $100 million contract, according to ESPN.com, and that is the distant second to LeBron. Then it falls all the way down to Kevin Durant, at $30 million.
It perhaps needs to be noted again that the three sons of LaVar Ball — Lonzo, a UCLA freshman, and high school senior LiAngelo and sophomore LaMelo, have not played a minute in the NBA.
(Though Lonzo likely will be a top-three pick when the 2017 NBA draft goes off in June. His brothers are committed to following him to UCLA.)
ESPN.com notes that the Ball brothers could not sign a collective deal with a shoe company until the spring of 2020, at the earliest — when LaMelo has finished his own one-and-done season with the Bruins.
And for those who can’t get enough of LaVar Ball and his bombast, he also told USA Today that he would beat Michael Jordan in a one-on-one game of basketball, taking advantage of his size (6-6, 270) to rout perhaps the greatest NBA player.
(USA Today actually led their story with this, rather than the $1 billion angle.)
“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,” Ball said. “I would just back him in and lift him off the ground and call a foul every time he fouls me when I do a jump hook to the right or the left.
“He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot ’cause he can’t go around me. He’s not fast enough. And he can only make so many shots outside before I make every bucket under the rim.”
So, LaVar Ball continues to make news and waves.
I went on record, in my post linked up in the first paragraph, about the risk that all this parental planning is more than a little bit likely to run into pushback, perhaps a lot of pushback, from his sons, in the not-too-distant future.
Meantime, he keeps breaking in to the U.S. sports news cycle.