Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball said he appreciates Jay-Z purchasing three pairs of his signature Big Baller Brand shoes.
"I'm just thankful, man, appreciate it," Ball told TMZ Sports.
Jay-Z said he purchased the shoes during an appearance on the Rap Radar podcast on Tidal, the streaming music service he co-owns with other artists. The mogul cited his desire to endorse black-owned businesses and said he supported LaVar Ball's push to make his own brand.
"He may go about things wrong, he may have a big mouth. But I bought three pairs. Why did I buy three pairs? That man has a vision of his own," Jay-Z said (h/t Kyle Boone of CBS Sports). "Why wouldn't I support him? Why wouldn't I support him? He feels like he can move culture, and his son got a big enough name, and a big enough brand, that they can do it."
"Nike had to start somewhere," he continued. "Why do we get so upset when we, us as a culture want to start our own s--t? That s--t is puzzling to me. I sit back like, and I'm like, 'This makes no sense.' Why can't he start a sneaker [company]? [People say] 'You're dumb, your sneakers are terrible.' They [weren't] any more terrible than ... I've seen some bad sneakers from Under Armour, I've seen some bad Michael Jordan sneakers. Horrible."
Much of the criticism of LaVar Ball, aside from his boisterous nature publicly, has come regarding the $495 price of the shoes. LaVar has defended the pricing of the shoes by saying their value will grow over time and that they're "symbolic."
"I expected this reaction. The fact that people are losing sight—they're looking at the price tag and not understanding that Lonzo's shoe is symbolic. That comes with a price tag," Ball said in a May interview on Fox's Undisputed.
"Symbolic as he's the first one ever to come in here without even playing a game and have his own brand. It's not just a shoe you just go in a store or something like that and you say, 'You know what, let me get the Kyrie, the LeBron… by the way, throw in the ZO2.'"
The signature line does not come out until November, so Jay-Z and anyone else who purchased will have to wait to see if the product was worth the cost and wait.