How LaVar Ball’s gamble on a signature shoe could pay off in a big way

When LaVar Ball proclaimed that Big Baller Brand — the sports apparel company he has created — wanted a co-branded partnership with a major sneaker company, most sports fans dismissed him. The reports that every major sneaker company had shot the offer down were met mostly with glee, a form of confirmation bias that exists largely because of Ball’s own doing. His rise to sports social media infamy has been brisk, fueled by his seemingly endless flow of outlandish comments.

But the truth is that we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss LaVar Ball. This isn’t the end of Big Baller Brand, or more importantly, LaVar and his sons’ influence in the sports apparel space. It’s only the beginning.

Ball has cleverly positioned himself in the center of the storm by capitalizing on a landscape in which the loudest voices earn the highest rewards. He’s appeared on Baseball Jerseys First Take, been challenged to one-on-one with Charles Barkley, and caught the attention of the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James — for better or worse.

Getting a superstar in the NBA is the hard part. It’s like hitting the lottery — or in the Clippers’ case, benefiting from an unprecedented David Stern veto. The Hornets and Clippers are proof that a player like Paul can change the entire outlook of a franchise by himself. But that’s not an excuse to force him to always have to do that.

Sometimes, Paul will run into opposing guards who are much more prolific than him. (Stephen Curry, for example). But against teams like the Jazz, where he plays brilliantly for six out of seven games and is the best player on the floor for most of the series, we cannot ignore the Clippers’ shallow supporting cast. It’s not Chris Paul’s fault that his coach (and GM) had to play a 39-year-old Paul Pierce 21 minutes in an elimination game.

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