Three of the biggest names in the sportswear industry have all come out to say they are passing on signing NBA prospect and former UCLA standout Lonzo Ball. According to a report from ESPN the big three are passing due in large part to Lonzo’s loud-mouthed father LaVar who has demanded a licensing deal with his Big Baller Brand versus a traditional sneaker deal.
Nike CEO Phil Knight said the company had early interest in signing Lonzo, but was wary of the $1 billion, 10 year deal that LaVar was pushing that would also cover his sons LiAngelo and LaMelo. In late April, Nike executive George Raveling ripped LaVar, saying the he is “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.”
With limited options, Ball is said to now be looking at lesser known Chinese brands such as Peak, Li-Ning and Anta.
“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told 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.”