Lonzo Ball doesn’t need Nike, Under Armour or Adidas when he has Big Baller Brand — right?

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the three major players in sports apparel are not interested in endorsing Lonzo Ball. Is it weird that they all passed on a potential first overall pick? Certainly, but, because of Lonzo’s father, LaVar, they felt the need to go elsewhere.

Rovell reported that LaVar wanted Nike, Adidas or Under Armour to license his Big Baller Brand, the company he founded that sells T-shirts and hats in the $38 to $100 range. Expectedly, they said no — even with LaVar showing them a prototype for Lonzo’s first shoe!

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” said LaVar to ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

The taxi industry may not have expected Uber to come along, but the consumers were elated they did. And that’s why they became such a huge success. Is anyone clamoring for a Big Baller Brand sneaker?

Also Read: LaVar Ball Says UCLA Didn’t Win Title Because Of White Players

There’s a reason why Nike, Adidas and Under Armour dominate the sneaker industry. Not only do they have the names — LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden — but they have the technology. In performance, that trumps all. If your sneaker doesn’t perform, it won’t sell no matter how big the name is. That’s why a lot of athletes are drawn to large enterprises. They can create a premium product that represents them to the utmost.

Have you heard the reviews on the Li-Ning Way of Wade lineup? They’re not glowing. When’s the last time you saw someone in Anta’s KT collection? I’m not knocking those companies, but it’s a tough battle they’re waging. LaVar, however, thinks athletes could’ve been way more profitable if they elected not to sign with Nike or Adidas.

“Just imagine how rich Tiger [Woods], Kobe [Bryant], Serena [Williams], [Michael] Jordan and LeBron [James] would have been if they dared to do their own thing. No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do and I have three sons so it’s that much more valuable.”

It doesn’t matter how valuable you think your brand is. The market decides that. And only time will tell if the Ball brand lives up to these expectations.

Additionally, Lonzo isn’t worthy of a sneaker yet. James has 14 signatures because he’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent, but a majority of athletes need to prove that they’re worthy of having a product designed for them. James Harden just got a model. Stephen Curry just got his third. Kawhi Leonard doesn’t even have one yet (get on that, Jordan Brand.)

What also could’ve played into the brands declining Ball’s partnership is that BBB just didn’t have the numbers. Of course, Ball had an answer for that, too. “When Facebook bought Whatsapp for $19 billion, those guys weren’t profitable.”

That may be true, but they had a 400 million users in December 2013, a couple of months before their acquisition.

At this point, we may never get a Lonzo Ball signature, and that’s fine. That doesn’t mean that he’s not a great player, and there are a plethora of other opportunities for him to make money.

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