You'd be hard pressed to meet someone who's never heard of LaVar Ball in 2017. While Ball isn't a basketball player himself, his name is attached, oddly enough, to NBA quite a bit these days. This could be because Ball's son Lonzo is the LA Lakers' newest player after securing a number two draft pick in this year's draft.
But being a basketball isn't newsworthy; this guy is though. Part of Ball's media appeal is that he handles managing his son's prospects and image in the same vein a wrestling manager in the WWE might. In other words, he's ridiculous and the media loves it. This is only part of the equation. Another, perhaps even more comical aspect of Ball's place in pop culture is his Big Baller Brand, that he seemingly promotes through his son's success. It's a smart move.
Now starting a small business is no feat, so one can applaud his efforts to create and mass market this entity. This is true when you might consider the fact that BBB created its own sneaker and is essentially going it alone in a world of multi-million dollar shoe contracts. For players of Lonzo's caliber, a sneaker deal can't be far behind, so attempting to disrupt the massive draft-to-shoe deal cycle is no doubt commendable.
Here's the interesting thing about the BBB flagship ZO2 sneakers, they're super expensive. By dropping a $495 sneaker, Ball secured something of an organic marketing strategy for his company and his son's image. People may or may not buy them, but a lot of people are talking about them. The irony of the situation is that the price tag, while high, isn't an anomaly when you look at the history of signature basketball sneakers. To put it in perspective, Jordan's first signature sneaker cost $180 in 1985; when you adjust for inflation, that's about $415 in today's market. So while the ZO2 are still more expensive, what's an $80 difference (or $33 in 1985 terms)?
Many detractors have called the sneakers a litany of interesting names or suggested they're not too easy on the eyes. Regardless of how sneakerheads and basketball enthusiasts feel about these sneakers, they're definitely going to be in the mix for a while. Who knows, maybe they just need a fresh pair of rope laces? We could help out there.