Apparently Lonzo Ball is ballin’. Forgive the lazy pun, but the word is that the first of the Ball(er)s to make it to the league and put out a shoe is making enough money to look smart for spurning potential shoe deals from Nike, Adidas, etc. According to the co-owners of the agency handling marketing and fulfillment (I really hope they’re fulfilled on the inside as well as the outside), Big Baller Brand’s ZO2 basketball shoes basically move rhymes like weight.
In the latest episode of “DeeClassified,” Dee Murthy, who co-founded FiveFour Club and Young & Reckless, sat down with Chris Ngo and Lee Ramirez, the co-owners of the Leverage Showroom agency, who partnered with Zo and LaVar Ball to handle marketing and fulfillment for the Triple Bs’ ZO2 Collection.
During their chat, the participants touched on the terms that the Crown Prince of Chino Hills turned down in order to support his family business. Ngo pegged the potential value of Lonzo’s offers from the established apparel companies at $2-4 million per year. That falls right in line with previous estimates from ESPN’s Nick DePaula, who suggested that Ball left as much as $15 million over five years on the table to be the face of the Big Baller Brand.
According to Ngo, who wants to help make the Big Baller Brand “the new And1,” Lonzo has “made more than that already with Big Baller Brand.”
In the ancient words of Ice-T, “Get your money, man.”
Now, I have to admit: I have no idea who is buying Big Baller Brand clothing. I love purchasing and rocking black-business apparel. My closet is full of clothing items from folks in Washington, D.C. (I love shopping locally), who have started their own lines. And none of that stuff is ever cheap.
At the same time, LaVar Ball managed to turn me off of BBB entirely, and that $495 price tag for a pair of shoes had me like, #NawBruh, even though I absolutely have more than one pair of shoes that cost more than that. I don’t particularly like the ZO2s, either, but that wasn’t my main reason for not copping. Luckily, they don’t need me to fill out their bottom line, since they’re out here winning and Lonzo ’nem are getting it how they live.
To date, I’ve only seen one person ever in life wearing a Big Baller Brand hoodie, and that was at the Atlanta airport—they could have been Ball cousins. Obviously, people have purchased the apparel, and somebody had to order the shoes; I’ve watched a few videos on YouTube of folks unboxing them. And considering their public profile—patriarch LaVar Ball actually got into it with an actual sitting U.S. president—it’s entirely possible that whole communities in places I’ve never been to are walking around geared up on that newest BBB ’nalia. If this happened in Iowa or in communities who shoot for proximity to blackness without actual blackness, I would not be surprised. But I really wonder who is doing all of the copping.
If I think about it, there is one community that I’m entirely sure would be purchasing and wearing BBB clothing. These folks basically just need to know two things: 1) that it’s black-owned and 2) where to get it. These are the folks like my father who are actually rooting for everybody black—the same folks who would have voted for Barack Obama no matter what happened, short of seeing him snorting a line of cocaine off the ass of a white woman, and even then—if he didn’t shout out his Social Security number—might still grant him the benefit of the doubt.
Older black folks are ALWAYS rooting for everybody black. They weren’t voting for anybody BUT Obama, and they keep Tyler Perry in business because he’s black. I remember once I needed to get the airport to fly back to D.C. one Sunday many moons ago. And do you know that neither of my parents volunteered to take me? They live in Madison, Ala., a suburb of Huntsville, and there aren’t exactly cabs anywhere, and this was before Uber, which I’m also not sure is even there now.
Why didn’t they want to take me? Because Tiger Woods was playing. Or Venus or Serena was playing. At this point I honestly don’t remember, but watching black people beat white people at shit is what they live for. If there were a world-champion pingpong player from Detroit making it to television on Sunday afternoons, that’s where they’d be, their son’s need to get home be damned.
In fact, I’m surprised my father doesn’t have anything from BBB right now, and I’m really only guessing that he doesn’t, since you have to order it online and he’d much rather walk into a store and walk out with something in hand than order it and wait. My father is an impatient man when it comes to his support of your blackness. But I’m pretty positive that he’s like so many other folks in our community who are actively supporting any and every cause as long as you tell them it’s black and isn’t anti-Jesus.
Once you add that to people who will support it JUST because it exists, sneakerheads who believe the shoes are an investment of sorts, and relationships built with schools or organizations and little white kids who like having that cool new black shit because their parents don’t spend enough time with them and try to make up for it with money, the Balls are ballin’.
So maybe LaVar and Lonzo were right in spurning those deals from the bigger companies. Doing it their way seems to be working for Lonzo, at least; how LiAngelo and LaMelo fare is yet to be seen. But there’s more than one way to skin a cat, apparently.
And apparently, WAY more of you all have BBB clothing than social media indicates.