LaVar Ball Says Lonzo, LaMelo Won't Sign Nike Contracts amid Rumors

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2019

CHINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 02:  (L-R) Lonzo Ball, LaMelo Ball, LiAngelo Ball and LaVar Ball attend Melo Ball's 16th Birthday on September 2, 2017 in Chino, California.  (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Crosswalk Productions )
Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

LaVar Ball said neither New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball nor top 2020 NBA draft prospect LaMelo Ball are leaving the family's Big Baller Brand despite rumored interest from Nike.

"Lonzo can think all day," LaVar told TMZ Sports in an interview released Monday. "He ain't signing with nobody. Big Baller Brand. That's what I said."

He didn't deny a TMZ report that Nike has a representative tracking LaMelo as he plays for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia's National Basketball League, but he noted that doesn't change anything for the BBB.

"Everybody is scouting LaMelo," LaVar said. "... It's OK, though."

He added: "I said it's a family brand, didn't I?"

The Big Baller Brand came under fire in March when Lonzo told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Paula Lavigne he severed ties with Alan Foster, a BBB co-founder and longtime friend of LaVar, after he discovered an estimated $1.5 million was missing from his personal and business accounts.

"This has been a very difficult decision, as I had a great deal of love and respect for Alan," Lonzo said. "But the time has come for me to take responsibility for my own career, both on and off the court."

LeBron James, Lonzo's former teammate with the Los Angeles Lakers, told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times he would gladly welcome the point guard to the Nike family. He was also happy to see the 21-year-old UCLA product taking more control over his life.

"I love the fact that he's taking control of his [stuff]," James said. "I mean...that's what's really, really dope to me. Once I saw that story, I just seen a kid turning into a man.

"'This is my career and I'm taking this. ... I done had enough. If I'm not going to be successful, I'm not going to be successful on my terms.'"

LaVar has remained steadfast in the family's commitment to the Big Baller Brand, but it's unclear whether his sons are on the same page.

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