Sports apparel giants Nike, Adidas and Under Armour were reportedly prepared to offer UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, a top prospect in the 2017 NBA draft, a $10 million shoe contract, but his father, LaVar Ball, wanted a "more lucrative" deal.
"We said Tiger (Woods) might be the next Jordan taking over, but there is no next Jordan in basketball or probably no next Jordan anywhere," Rovell said. "I know that's going to disappoint LaVar Ball, but I think you have to say that."
Rovell went on to say LaVar Ball is betting on his Big Baller Brand rather than taking a deal that could have doubled his son's rookie salary. The ESPN business reporter told Patrick he's surprised the patriarch didn't take a different route after the Los Angeles Lakers landed the second overall pick.
"It's strange to me that LaVar didn't at least fold some of his cards and go back to the shoe companies in earnest," he said. "After the Lakers thing goes down and the perfect scenario is going to unfold, the new deal, Nike (to) five years and $20 million. But what does LaVar Ball do? Instead of saying he now wants $1 billion, he now wants $3 billion."
Ball previously made waves when Slam confirmed his son's first signature shoe would be released without the backing of any of the major shoe companies and would cost $495.
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Questions have been raised about how the elder Ball's hands-on role in his son's future could impact him heading toward the draft. In March, one NBA general manager told Sean Deveney of Sporting News it's something teams will be forced to consider.
"It doesn't help, all this stuff with his father," the GM said. "I don't know what is gained for the kid by putting that much pressure on him. Nobody from the league has been meeting with (Lonzo Ball) or anything, but that is going to be another thing to look at when it comes to due diligence before the draft. How does he handle his dad, is it just something he laughs about, or is it real pressure on him?"
Lonzo Ball has remained a projected top-three selection through all the noise. All signs point toward his father's getting his wish with the Lakers potentially taking Lonzo at No. 2, though new president of basketball operations Magic Johnson told TMZ Sports he couldn't confirm the team's direction.