Did you know about Lavar Ball before 2015?
The answer is probably no, yet he became one of the most talked about person in 2017. Lavar, the father of three talented sons (Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo), loved to talk about them just like any parent would do, but to a whole new level.The family received a lot of media attention due to the fact that his oldest son Lonzo was considered a top talent by many.
Lavar’s first media outbreak took place in 2016 while being interviewed by ESPN; in that interview, he guaranteed UCLA, powered by his son Lonzo, would win the NCAA Basketball Tournament. He then continued his outlandish media comments by stating that all three of his sons would be “One and done” in college and get drafted to the NBA.
Lavar’s comments started to circulate the media and every news outlet. People started wondering who he was and why he was making these big statements about his sons when none of them was currently in the NBA.
In addition, they questioned his basketball expertise since Lavar only averaged two points per game in college. Nevertheless, he continued his propaganda by stating that his son Lonzo was better than Steph Curry and compared him many other top players amongst the NBA, including Lebron James.
He had no problem even involving himself in conversations. In fact, he even claimed that he can beat Michael Jordan one-on-one. In an interview with Josh Peter of USA Today, Lavar stated:
“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one. I would just back (Jordan) in and lift him off the ground and call a foul every time he fouls me when I do a jump hook to the right or the left. He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot ’cause he can’t go around me. He’s not fast enough. And he can only make so many shots outside before I make every bucket under the rim.”
This claim was like no other: A nobody asserting he can beat arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time in a one and one.
Check out some of his best moments:
During all of this media craze, Lavar stood behind his brand known as the Big Baller Brand.
He would wear his brand on every TV interview across all media, stating that his brand was better than the three headed monsters of Nike, Under Armour and Adidas. Unknowingly, Lavar Ball and the Ball family was quickly becoming the Kardashians of basketball.
So what makes Lavar an actual great business man?
His personality. Lavar Ball used his crazy comments and antics to build up the brand. Lavar ball and the Big Baller Brand quickly became the most tweeted about people and brands on the internet. He created a demand with the audience he wanted to reach by exposing him and his kids to the media.
In today’s world, it’s all about attention. If you’re able to grab attention from people, then you win. He turned some of his best quotes into shirts, like his “Stay in Yo Lane” tee.
But that wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning. A few months later, the Big Baller Brand made its big splash in May of 2017 when it released its first shoe, the ZO2, which retail price was $495. The shoe for his son Lonzo came after he was drafted and was not looking to sign a deal with any of the major brands.
These shoes were a social media frenzy as many laughed at the outrageous price of $495. That’s what Lavar wanted: Conversation. People couldn’t get enough of the shoe and put their own opinions on the release.
In comparison, Michael Jordan released his first Jordan at a retail price of only $65. Yes, the times were different then, but what Michael Jordan didn’t have going into his first year was a brand and the media exposure of the Ball family.
Brand is everything.
When you choose between the Nikes or Adidas what makes your decision? Is it the price? Or is it what the brand is all about and the marketing they’ve done to you that you can’t even put into thoughts?
This what Lavar has been great at doing, showing the Big Baller Brand over and over again until you finally want to be a part of it. He’s been able to hack culture and create a culture of his own. It’s the “Ball Era”.
When Lonzo was making his pre-season starts, there was definitely a hype surrounding the player; however, the vast majority of news headlines focused predominantly on what shoe Lonzo was going to wear.
As Lavar stated, Lonzo is independent and not locked into one brand. So what did Lonzo do? He wore a different shoe brand for each game including his own, attracting even more media attention around himself, Lavar and the Big Baller Brand. When has there been such conversation about what shoe a rookie was going to wear before he even scored his first basket?
As Lonzo’s career evolves and grows, so will the Big Baller Brand. There is no definitive path on the way to build a brand and a successful business, but Lavar Ball and the Big Baller Brand have been able to create a new culture and a product people can’t refuse to consume.