Lonzo Ball may not be having the ideal start to his NBA career, but he’s still providing the Los Angeles Lakers with some highlights from time to time. His future in the NBA is still promising, especially with his ability to pass and make his teammates better. He could end up having a very productive NBA career.
For the time being, Lonzo is making sure his parents know how much he appreciates their love and support. Lonzo got his Big Baller Brand patriarch a $400,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn for Christmas. You can see the reaction in the video above.
LaVar Ball is loving life and trying to make his kid’s lives as good as possible in the way he believes is the best. You can argue six ways till Sunday that he may not be doing his two younger boys favors by pulling them out of school, but you cannot argue LaVar wants the best for his kids and does everything he can to make that happen.
Case in point: all three boys drive Lamborghini’s, and they had them before Lonzo signed a single contract with the Lakers. Big Baller Brand is clearly working well for the Ball family.
LaVar is a giant in both stature and personality. Some have suggested he is putting unfair pressure on Lonzo, as LaVar’s “antics” may have put a target on Lonzo from other players in the league. One example of this could be when LaVar took a shot at John Wall, and teammate Marcin Gortat responded by saying Wall would “torture him for 48 minutes.” Then when asked if he would be lenient to the 19-year old, Wall said “nah, no mercy.” The Lakers lost that game despite Lonzo flirting with a triple double.
Whatever your opinion on LaVar, again, it’s clear he cares for his boys and he has a vision for their future. He recently pulled LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball out of their respective schools, LiAngelo at UCLA and LaMelo at Chino Hills High, in order for them to play professional basketball overseas. They both signed contracts with Lithuanian team Prienu Vytautas. Big Baller Brand shared on their Instagram account that has 1 million followers.
LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball are Officially Professional Basketball Players. Both Ball Brothers have signed to play for Club "Prienai" in Lithuania. It's not about the money for the Ball Brothers. They have a passion to play Basketball and to experience playing as pros was the Goal. They have accomplished this mission and are excited to be playing on the same team to top it off. The Big Baller way! #BBB #Familyfirst #builtforthis
Jonathan Givoni of ESPN broke down the deal on his Twitter account.
The Ball brothers are not expected to see major playing time for Prienu Vytautas in the Lithuanian (LKL) league, but could be afforded an opportunity to develop in the Baltic (BBL) League, where the stakes are much lower. The club must decide whether to pull the trigger first. From what I’m told, salaries for players at this level of competition usually don’t exceed $500 per month in the absolute best case. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Ball brothers ended up playing for free. Certainly not the most glamorous league or part of the world to live in. Prienu Vytautas has only had one American player on their roster in the past decade, Brad Tinsley, who departed after a month of action, according to my research. The Balls would likely be faced with a major culture shock in Prienai, a small village of around 10,000 people.
LaVar explained the move to Bleacher Report, claiming the goal is still to get all three boys on the Lakers.
Our goal is to get both of these boys, have all three of them on the Lakers,” LaVar said. “And sometimes it’s different roads to get to there. But we’re going to get there. We’re just on a different road right now.”
It’s obviously not uncommon for NBA players to come from European Leagues, but most of the time that’s because the players are European-born. Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Mudiay are a couple of examples of high school players who chose to play overseas rather than in college. It’s a trend that is picking up steam among high school prospects. They believe it’s in their best interest to make money off themselves and focus exclusively on basketball rather than go one year at college.
There is certainly an argument to be made for both sides. On the one hand, NCAA basketball is unique in terms of its structure in that you will only be playing against players between the ages of 19-22 and, for now, it’s comprised of mostly elite high school prospects who make the jump to the collegiate level.
This is unlike any European league, which could consist of veterans who are fully grown and playing in the prime of their athletic careers. Most players are not fully mature or even physically developed when they are 19-22. It’s good to bridge the gap to the NBA with that time as it levels the playing field for the most part.
At the same time, you’re still an amateur when you play for a college. That college has the benefit of making money off of you while you have no ability to cash in on your own talent, other than free education. And for some, the idea of playing against older athletes could prepare them better for the NBA. The physicality of some overseas ball would be unlike anything they would see at the collegiate level.
It is clear LaVar is no longer a fan of college basketball. After pulling LiAngelo out of UCLA after they suspended him indefinitely for his incident in China, he is supposedly starting a league for top high school prospects and plans to pay them as much as $10,000 per month. Per ESPN.com:
Ball said his Junior Basketball Association — which he said is fully funded by his Big Baller Brand — plans to pay the lowest-ranked player a salary of $3,000 a month and the best player $10,000 a month. Ball is looking for 80 players to fill 10 teams that will seek to play at NBA arenas in Los Angeles, Dallas, Brooklyn and Atlanta.
“Getting these players is going to be easy,” Ball told ESPN. “This is giving guys a chance to get a jump start on their career, to be seen by pro scouts; and we’re going to pay them, because someone has to pay these kids.”
Big Baller Brand is doing big things and shaking up the basketball landscape in this country. It has definitely been a Merry Christmas for the Balls.