Ownership Is The Name Of The Game For Big Baller Brand Creator LaVar Ball "A brand is one of the biggest things you can have in the world, because everything is branded."
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LaVar Ball, acclaimed basketball personality and founder of Big Baller Brand, a shoe and apparel company based in the United States, rocked the industry with his booming voice, big persona, and an even bigger sticker price on his first signature shoe, the ZO2.
Indeed, the US$495 base price garnered significant media attention then, with Ball responding to critics on X (the app formerly known as Twitter), saying, "If you can't afford the ZO2'S, you're NOT a BIG BALLER!" He received further criticism for this, but he remained unfazed- and that attitude continues to today, with Ball continuing to believe in himself, with his unwavering confidence rooted in ownership.
"The inspiration behind Big Baller Brand is this," Ball explained. "90% of NBA players are Black, but we don't own anything. I was the first one to come into the league with my own brand. That's why I preach that ownership is everything. A brand is one of the biggest things you can have in the world, because everything is branded."
Image courtesy Big Baller Brand.
While the Big Baller Brand is synonymous with Ball, it also has strong family ties. In 2017, the company announced the release of a signature shoe for Ball's son, LaMelo Ball, called the Melo Ball 1 (MB1). It went on to later partner with athletic brand Puma, and and that resulted in PUMA x LaMelo, its first collaboration in correlation with the 2020 NBA Draft.
As a dad, Ball is able celebrate his son's success, but the businessman maintains that ownership should be the priority when striking a deal. "I let Melo go to Puma to show him what they're not going to do for him," he said. "If you don't have any ownership, you're just wearing a Puma shoe for a stipend. Melo made their stock go up… and they're only giving him a measly hundred million or so. That's not a lot if you look at it like that!"
"I explained to Melo: you, and LeBron, and all these guys get a fee," he continued. "That means no matter how much [the company] sells, or how little they sell, they give you a certain fee to wear that shoe. I'm Big Baller Brand. I don't deal with fees. I deal with a percentage… Once you understand these numbers, it'll make you think, and you're not going to be with them long term."
Image courtesy Big Baller Brand.
Besides his prowess in business, Ball has also garnered international recognition for his expertise in basketball training, and his remarkable achievement of having three sons who reached the NBA level. Through his dedication and mentorship, Ball nurtured the talents of his sons from a young age, guiding them to excel in the sport. He has since gone on to share his wealth of knowledge and experience with aspiring basketball players around the world- and here in the UAE as well earlier this year with his Big Ballerverse tour.
Following the success of his tour in Australia and New Zealand, where he personally selected 10 exceptional players under the age of 18 to join the Ball Stars team, and compete in a prestigious basketball tournament in California, Ball turned his attention to discovering talent in the UAE. Ball has declared that he is committed to establishing a similar pathway for talented players in the UAE, creating opportunities for them to showcase their skills on a global stage.
During the training camp in the UAE, Ball guided participants through motion drills, and spoke about the importance of conditioning. He also impressed upon players the importance of mastering basic concepts such as passing and catching. Hosted in partnership with Wildcats Basketball in Abu Dhabi and Hangtime Basketball in Dubai, the sessions allowed players to learn directly from Ball, gaining insights into his training philosophy, as well as his tips for acquiring a competitive edge.
"The UAE is home to many basketball players, and I'm thrilled to witness their skills firsthand," Ball said. "My aim is to provide aspiring athletes with a platform to showcase their abilities, and pave the way for future opportunities in the basketball world. I trained my own sons from a young age, and I believe in the potential of athletes here in the UAE. You never know who might catch my eye!"