After months of speculation, Big Baller Brand is officially putting to rest any remaining rumors about the company’s highly anticipated next move. Lonzo Ball will become the first player to have his own independently made signature shoe entering the NBA Draft.
Love it or hate it, this is a historic move that will send shockwaves throughout the basketball community and will leave many wondering if this could become a trend among athletes in the future.
Just a week ago, a report that Big Baller Brand was no longer in negotiations with Nike, adidas and Under Armour surfaced online, but LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s father and the CEO of Big Baller Brand, has made it clear that the company was not interested in a standard endorsement deal, instead seeking co-branding opportunities.
Since negotiations with Nike, adidas and Under Armour had seemingly fallen apart, there was a perception that the BBB team was scrambling for options. But that wasn’t quite the case. BBB tells SLAM that designs and prototypes for Lonzo’s first signature shoe—the ZO2—had been in the works for the past few months. Big Baller Brand was always prepared to go the independent route if conversations with the aforementioned sneaker companies did not lead to a deal.
It’s a bold move—a first of its kind.
BBB is aiming for Lonzo’s signature sneaker to tap into a new market—above the athletic performance kicks from the likes of Nike, Jordan, adidas and Under Armour, but below the high-end designer shoes of Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton. The ZO2 Prime comes with a $495 price tag.
There is also a limited ZO2 WET Autographs edition, which will come in a key-locked glass box with a floor mirror, LED lights and an autograph from the Chino Hills prodigy himself. It will cost $995.
Lonzo, a likely top-3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was the talk of college basketball this past season as a freshman at UCLA. He averaged 14.6 points and an NCAA Div. I-best 7.6 assists per game, drawing comparisons to some of the game’s greatest point guards in the process.
His ZO2 signature sneaker features python microfiber texture, patent leather heel logos and a gel outsole with a hand-painted “DeLorean finish.”
Today’s product reveal also includes the release of the ZO2 signature slides, which also feature python microfiber texture and Lonzo’s personal logo.
All three products are now available for pre-order at bigballerbrand.com.
Big Baller Brand is still in talks with potential investors, and the company tells SLAM there will be more announcements in the coming weeks. Only time will tell what kind of effect this move will have on the athlete-endorsement business model going forward.