Lonzo Ball Unveils First Signature Sneaker: ZO2 PRIME

After not getting a partnership with Nike, Adidas or Under Armour, Big Baller Brand went out and recreated one of Kobe Bryant’s signatures. 

I love the entrepreneurial spirit shown here. LaVar Ball doesn’t want his sons’ likenesses being profited off of by a brand that isn’t theirs. Now, just because I like the spirit doesn’t mean I like the product. And some aspects have me lost for words.

First off… $495 retail?!?! That’s absurd. The major players in footwear don’t even release sneakers for that much, and they’re at the forefront of innovation and technology.

But wait, there’s more.

If you’re feeling really generous, you can pay $1,000-1,200 for the WET model, which is packaged in a clear case with some lights and comes signed by Lonzo Ball.

And now, we have the kicker: the $220 slides. You know the Gucci slides that Future talks about in I Thought It Was a Drought? Yeah, those are $30 cheaper.

The only justification for the extreme price point is the tech; if it doesn’t perform, it’s worthless. On the Big Baller Brand website, the highlights are an Ortholite insole and “a full bed of shock absorbent material.” I’m going to guess it’s not Lunarlon, Zoom or Boost. Regardless, we don’t know, so we don’t know how it’s going to perform and, when it comes to on-court sneakers, performance is everything. And it’s interesting how they don’t have the weight of the sneaker on its page because, well, that’s huge. No one wants to play with cinder blocks on their feet.

Next, we have the silhouette, which looks a bit like some of Kobe Bryant’s later models. The Prime is a black sneaker. That’s it. There’s some color on the inside, but the black is what you’d see before anything else, and it’s not eye-grabbing. Frankly, the only reason this sneaker is getting so much attention is that LaVar Ball has spent the last couple of months proclaiming his family’s brand as the next big thing. It’s not a bad marketing strategy, but trying to disrupt any industry is almost impossible if you don’t bring an edge or innovate. LaVar Ball is banking on his mouth to sell sneakers. We need to know more. There’s a lot of time until it’s release so maybe some more information will come out.

Having Lonzo Ball release his own sneaker independently is great. It’s innovative. I respect the hustle. I don’t know how much of a say he has in the pricing, but it’s inexplicable. Raising the price of your product as you grow is much easier than dropping it. When Nike dropped LeBron James’ first signature, it was $110. Adjusting for inflation, it’s in the $140-150 price range.

Big Baller Brand has done a great job of marketing even if it’s conducted untraditionally. As Fabolous once said, “you should make more moves and make less announcements.”

LaVar Ball has done a lot of talking. Now, it’s time to deliver.

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