Nike, More Pass on Lonzo Ball After Father LaVar Asks for Big Baller Licensing

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2017

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 24: Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins brings the ball up court in the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 24, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Nike, Under Armour and Adidas have all passed on endorsing NBA draft prospect Lonzo Ball, reportedly due to LaVar Ball's efforts to include the licensing of Big Baller Brand.

According to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, Ball's father and sources within the three companies confirmed that Nike, Under Armour and Adidas declined to offer his son a deal.

LaVar Ball commented on the matter and his desire to shake up the manner in which shoe and apparel deals are struck, per Rovell: "We've said from the beginning, we aren't looking for an endorsement deal. 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 elder Ball, who presented the three companies with a shoe prototype for Lonzo, expressed his belief that a partnership could help maximize profits: "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."

According to Michael Smith of SportsBusiness Journal, Nike executive George Raveling recently called LaVar "the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last 100 years."

Lonzo spent one season at UCLA, averaging 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game.

He is considered to be among the top prospects in the 2017 NBA draft and is likely in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick along with Washington's Markelle Fultz and Kansas' Josh Jackson.

In his latest NBA mock draft, ESPN's Chad Ford projected Ball to be taken No. 2 overall by the Phoenix Suns.