LeBron James has come out in support of LA Lakers teammate Lonzo Ball after ESPN reported that Ball had parted ways with his father’s Big Baller Brand due to an alleged theft of $1.5 million from the company. After deleting all references to Big Baller and his father, CEO LeVar Ball, from Instagram, Lonzo Ball posted what looked like a hint that his future lay with Nike.
Speaking to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, James said, “Whatever the kid decides to do, whatever brand he comes with next — if it’s with Nike, obviously we would welcome him.”
Speaking more on the Big Baller situation and how Ball has handled himself, James added, “I love the fact that he’s taking control of his [stuff]. I mean… that’s what’s really, really dope to me. Once I saw that story, I just seen a kid turning into a man. ‘This is my career and I’m taking this… I done had enough. If I’m not going to be successful, I’m not going to be successful on my terms.’”
Although careful not to pressure Ball about his future endorsement decisions, James couldn’t resist plugging any potential deal. “I love the kid regardless of what shoes he had on. But we shall see. I mean he plays well when he has on Nikes,” he said.
Ball opted not to sign an endorsement deal with a major sportswear brand when he was drafted after one year at UCLA. Instead, he became the face of Big Baller, of which he owns 51 percent.
For more on the allegations made against Big Baller Brand co-owner Alan Foster and the $1.5 million that went missing, head here.