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Nike, Adidas, Under Armour Decline Deal With Lonzo Ball

Apr 28, 2017 10:55 AM

Nike, Under Armour and Adidas have each passed on an endorsement deal with Lonzo Ball.

The three shoe and apparel companies informed LaVar Ball they were not interested in a deal with his son.

LaVar was representing Lonzo during the process and he insisted that the company license his Big Baller Brand. LaVar also showed the companies a shoe prototype he hoped would become Lonzo's first shoe.

"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."

Ball would not disclose how big the Big Baller Brand has become.

When asked how long he has been working on the design of Lonzo's shoe, Ball said it was "a long time."

Added Ball: "I've been working on that shoe ever since my boys were born."

Darren Rovell/ESPN

Tags: Lonzo Ball, UCLA Bruins, NBA

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Lonzo Ball Hires Harrison Gaines As Agent

Apr 6, 2017 11:19 AM

Lonzo Ball has signed with Harrison Gaines to be his agent.

Ball will be Gaines' first NBA client. Gaines will be responsible for Ball’s future NBA contracts and team negotiations as a member of the Ball Sports Group.

Ball could complete a unique shoe deal in the coming months because his representatives plan to pursue a major-company partner for the family brand, as opposed to a standard endorsement contract.

Ball is expected to be a top-2 pick in the upcoming draft.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Tags: Lonzo Ball, UCLA Bruins, NBA

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T.J. Leaf Declares For NBA Draft

Mar 30, 2017 8:29 PM

TJ Leaf has announced he will leave UCLA for the 2017 NBA Draft.

"This was a huge decision for me and my family," Leaf said Thursday. "It was definitely one of the hardest decisions in my life.

"This was the most fun year of basketball I've had in my entire life, and I will definitely miss it. But, I cannot wait to start my new journey."

Leaf averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds.

Leaf is expected to be a mid-first round selection.

Jeff Goodman/ESPN

Tags: T.J. Leaf, UCLA Bruins, NCAA, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General, NBA Draft Declarations

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Lonzo Ball: I'm Better Than Markelle Fultz

Mar 28, 2017 3:04 PM

Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz are widely considered the top-2 players in the 2017 NBA Draft class. The two players figure to be compared to each other endlessly between now and June's draft.

"Markelle's a great player, but I feel I'm better than him," said Ball. "I think I can lead a team better than him," Ball added. "Obviously he's a great scorer -- he's a great player, so I'm not taking that away from him."

Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game as a freshman this season, but Washington had a 9-22 record.

Ball averaged 14.6 points and 7.7 assists per game while leading UCLa to the Sweet 16.

ESPN

Tags: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Washington Huskies, UCLA Bruins, NCAA, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

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Lonzo Ball Announces He'll Leave UCLA For Draft

Mar 25, 2017 11:06 AM

Lonzo Ball announced after UCLA's loss in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky that he will leave the school to enter the 2017 NBA Draft.

"That was my final game for UCLA, and I appreciate all the fans and all the support," Ball said.

Ball had widely been expected to leave UCLA after just one season.

Ball is expected to be a top-3 pick in the draft.

Jeff Goodman/ESPN

Tags: Lonzo Ball, UCLA Bruins, NCAA, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

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LaVar Ball Not Hurting Lonzo Ball's Draft Stock With NBA Teams

Mar 17, 2017 11:47 AM

The media tour of LaVar Ball is not expected to negatively impact the draft stock of Lonzo Ball.

Ball is widely expected to be a top-2 pick in the draft and fall no lower than third.

As one general manager put it, and many other executives confirmed in various forms when consulted on the matter, “No one’s paying attention to Ball’s father.”

“Lonzo Ball is a game changer with his skill set and ability to make plays (that) one can’t teach,” one front office executive said. “He makes your team better once he gets on the floor. His instincts and ability to push the ball up the floor with a pass first mentality is something a coach can’t teach.”

Several executives reiterated that Ball would be drafted in the top three regardless of his dad.

Other executives acknowledged the scenario would be different if Ball came with red flags in regards to his character.

“There are players who come from more challenging family situations who have (done) quite well in the NBA," the GM said.

Said another executive: “Passing on the kid because of the father may not hold up well over time.”

Sam Amick/USA Today

Tags: Lonzo Ball, UCLA Bruins, NCAA, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

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LaVar Ball Hoping For $1 Billion Shoe Deal For Three Sons

Mar 13, 2017 7:56 PM

LaVar Ball hopes to sign his sons to a joint marketing deal with either Nike, Adidas or Under Armour.

Lonzo Ball is expected to be a top-2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft out of UCLA. LiAngelo and LaMelo have also committed to UCLA.

“A billion dollars, it has to be there,’’ Ball said. “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 mil over 10 years.’’

Ball dismisses the notion that his comments could have a negative impact on Lonzo.

“They try to twist him up,’’ Ball said. “ 'Ah, man, your dad’s distracting you. What’s he doing? His dad ain’t out here on the court with no hula hoops going, Hey, make a shot through here. That’s distraction.' "

“I told him, ‘Son, hurting you is not talking about you. Hurting you is cracking you upside the head.' "


Josh Peter/USA Today

Tags: Lonzo Ball, LaMelo Ball, LiAngelo Ball, UCLA Bruins, NCAA, NBA

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LaVar Ball Put Sons On Worst Youth Teams To Develop Game

Mar 12, 2017 12:00 PM

LaVar Ball said he helped to build his sons into top players by placing them on the worst teams with the worst players. He said he figured that if Lonzo Ball could win with marginal players, he could win with good ones. Playing with those of lesser talent taught Lonzo leadership and accepting responsibility, LaVar said. When you lose, it’s your fault. When you win, it’s because of your teammates.

“If you can win with people that can’t play, that makes you special,” LaVar said. “Anybody can win when they’ve got all the best players. So that kind of made him [better] for whatever situation he was in, to always be the underdog. Give me whatever you want to give me; I’m going to do my best to help this team win.”

When asked about his unselfish style, Lonzo said it was his nature. “If you’re a point guard you should get your teammates involved before you,” he said. “That’s how I’ve been playing my whole life. It’s been a pretty smooth transition [to college]. Guys are a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, but the basketball’s the same.”

LaVar Ball said because he was able to raise his sons comfortably in an affluent Los Angeles suburb, Lonzo has no burden to have to help support his family. He can concentrate on playing.

“I can see it now,” LaVar said. “Come on, Lonzo, I need you to make some money so I can move out of Chino Hills because this swimming pool and these hills are killing me. There’s no pressure. If what I’m saying makes a team not draft Lonzo, guess what? He ain’t supposed to be there anyway.”

Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Tags: Lonzo Ball, UCLA Bruins, NCAA, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

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Kris Wilkes Commits To UCLA

Nov 13, 2016 6:58 PM

Kris Wilkes has committed to UCLA for the incoming class of 2017.

Wilkes, a 6'7 small forward, is ranked No. 14 in his class by ESPN and picked the Bruins over Indiana and Illinois. 

"I felt the most comfortable when I went down and felt it was a great school," Wilkes told ESPN.

Wilkes joins a recruiting class that was ranked No. 4 in the country heading into the weekend. He's the fifth member of the group, following three ESPN 100 prospects -- point guard Jaylen Hands (No. 31), power forward Cody Riley (No. 45) and center Jalen Hill (No. 50) -- and three-star shooting guard LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of UCLA star freshman Lonzo.

Jeff Borzello/ESPN

Tags: Kris Wilkes, UCLA Bruins, NCAA, NCAA Commitment

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