The Lonzo Ball shoe deal saga continues, and the latest report from Nick DePaula of The Vertical offers some details into what’s happening with our favorite future No. 2 overall pick, his wacky father, and the shoe companies that want Lonzo but not his father’s brand.
According to DePaula, Nike and Under Armour have both been in contact, but have not made any sort of offer to Ball, while adidas has still yet to have a formal discussion with Ball, the possibility of a deal between adidas and Ball is “not dead yet.” This makes some sense, considering adidas sponsored UCLA last year, as well as Chino Hills High School where the younger Ball brothers play.
However, the real news out of DePaula’s dive into the Ball shoe business is that he learned that Big Baller Brand hopes to launch Lonzo’s first signature shoe at a ridiculous price point.
The brand is targeting the $200 tier for its debut Big Baller Brand basketball sneaker, an industry source told The Vertical, which would presumably be Lonzo’s signature shoe for his rookie season.
For reference, as of now, the only current signature shoes on the market that are priced at $200 or more are the specialty (Elites or EXT editions) of Nike signature shoes for Kobe, LeBron, and KD and certain editions of the Jordan XXXI. No current signature shoe from adidas or Under Armour comes in at more than $160.
So, essentially, LaVar Ball wants his son’s shoe to hit the market and try to compete in the price range of the three biggest Nikes and retro Jordans.
This isn’t a huge surprise, considering how bombastic LaVar Ball has been with regards to his brand’s value, but it’s a recipe for failure and an unfortunate one for Lonzo. Durant’s KD 8 touched $200 and then dropped back to $150 for the KD 9, and the best values on the market are the Kyries, Hardens, Lillards, and KDs, which all retail for below $150.
It’s hard enough to get a new signature shoe to stick in today’s sneaker market without pricing yourself out of most buyers. If you make people choose between Foams, retro Jordans, and Lonzo Ball 1s, I can guarantee you which one of those is getting passed over first.
The argument over whether LaVar Ball has hurt his son’s draft stock with his outlandish statements is silly. However, as DePaula notes, there’s no doubt that LaVar’s insistence on a shoe company to co-sign on Big Baller Brand is hurting the market for Ball among the major shoe companies. On top of that, wanting a $200 first shoe is even more ridiculous.
Lonzo won’t be hurting for money once he gets into the league, but if LaVar won’t balk and Lonzo ends up without a major shoe deal to play in some $200 BBB shoes while watching other rookies collect big Nike and adidas checks, he might start questioning whether father knows best.