Cassandra Negley | Yahoo Sports
If you’re going to put your family’s company on blast, you might as well go all-in.
At least that’s what New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball did this week during an appearance on the LightHarted Podcast with Josh Hart. Ball revealed his Big Baller Brand signature ZO2 sneakers would rip apart and his manager was prepared to swap them out every quarter with a backpack full of more shoes.
“If you literally have those shoes from those games, they’re exploded,” Ball said.
Big Baller Brand debuted the rookie’s shoes in May 2017, before he played a minute with the Lakers. The $495 signature “ZO2 Prime” had an underwhelming debut with 263 sold on the first day.
Two years later it’s overwhelmingly clear the people who stayed away made the right choice.
“‘Cause they were my shoe. I had to debut them,” Ball told the podcast about why he continued to wear them. “We went so far with it. I’m like, ‘Cool, I can get a quarter in, but that’s it. We gotta switch them every quarter.’
“And it’s crazy because right when I’d switch my shoes, and then all of a sudden I got good again.”
The clip talks only about the shoes during summer league 2017. Earlier this year, the Lakers reportedly expressed concern about his Big Baller Brand shoes after a third ankle injury.
“Yeah, they talked to me,” Lonzo Ball told ESPN. “They asked me about it, and I told ’em, ‘I feel comfortable. If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t play in ’em. If I didn’t play in [the signature BBB shoes], I’d play in Kobe [Bryant’s signature Nike shoe]. I work out in [LeBron James‘ signature Nike shoe], but that’s because they’re heavier.”
The podcast reveal is the latest move by Ball as he distances himself from the family brand. Ball reportedly cut ties with co-founder Alan Foster in March when he found $1.5 million missing from his personal and business accounts. Ball reportedly owns 51 percent of the company.
He went a step further later that month by covering up the Big Baller Brand logo tattoo on his arm. It was replaced with dice featuring the numbers 1, 2 and 3, likely in reference to the Ball brothers’ jersey numbers.
Ball has said he’s ready for his “fresh start” in New Orleans, away from his roots in Los Angeles and college career at UCLA.
He’ll certainly have something in common to talk about with new teammate and No. 1 pick Zion Williamson.