Mar. 29, 2017
LaVar Ball: A Perfect Combination of Family and Business
I think everyone can agree when we say that Lonzo Ball is one of the best players, if not the best player, in college basketball right now. He's going into the NBA as one of the top picks in the draft. When he is chosen, that team will have gained a great young player, and his, lets call it extremely outspoken, father. So many people hear LaVar Ball talk about how his son is better than Steph, or how he could have beaten MJ in one-on-one. Yeah LaVar Ball has a ton of talk, and many people might see that as a distraction for the team and for Lonzo. However, if you look at UCLA this year, they haven't had too much of a problem riding Lonzo all the way to a 3 seed in this years NCAA tournament. Don't get me wrong, UCLA has a fantastic team, but they just don't get where they are now without Lonzo Ball leading the way. This talent and leadership is what LaVar saw in his eldest son years ago. Most fathers would have just let their son make their way through the ghastly AAU system that we have today. Where every coach and agent is looking to latch onto a player and make their cut at the earliest age possible. LaVar was his kids AAU coach the whole way through. He was able to push their skills on the court to the highest level possible. While off the court, he was able to manage their futures, steering them away from signing deals while they were still in primary school, and guiding them into the college game. He took them to a public high school, where there is no recruiting of players, and told them to build a team around his kids, because he knew just how good his kids were. That team lost its first game in the last three seasons in the State semifinals a couple weeks ago. LaVar has done everything possible to protect his sons from the corporate leaches that prey upon young athletes, especially in the sport of basketball. As Lonzo began his approach to landing in the NBA, LaVar patiently waited until the hype was just starting to build around his son, and then drew all of the attention he possibly could to himself and his son. Why would he do this? Why would he make outrageous claims and call out some of basketballs greats? He is building one a family brand the likes of which professional sports has never seen.
Every time he makes a statement, the media eats it up, and the Ball family name is rolling through sports television, print and across sports radio. Anyone that follows college basketball and sports in general likely at least recognized the name Ball for the basketball family making its way to the top of the list. He knows that to build a brand, you need air time. You need to spread your name as far and wide as possible. And now, he has spread his name so far that some engineering student from Podunk New York that listens to sports radio a couple times a week can write a sports blog story on him. If that's not a beautifully executed marketing plan, I don't know what is. The best part, he's doing it all for free, without paying for ad space or hurting his sons draft stock at all. Within 10 years, there will likely be two of his sons playing in the NBA, maybe 3, and everyone will know their names, and recognize their products. Why? Because LaVar ball had the insight to recognize his sons' potential and build their own brand, instead of allowing themselves to represent other major brands. Could you imagine if LeBron or Kobe hadn't signed with Nike? The amount of money those companies would have lost in shoe sales would be in the billions. Now I'm not saying that any of these kids will be anywhere near that level of play. They probably won't be half the player that LeBron or Kobe is or was. However, if they are good enough to become NBA starters, and have their own brand, which has largely been established before they even reached the NBA, they are going to be raking in the dough. This man has kept his family together and protected his sons from the worst parts of moving up in the basketball world, and turned it into a possible empire. Sure, if his sons' careers don't pan out like he says, LaVar may look a little silly, but then again he is just a father believing in his sons. But if they do pan out and become good or even great NBA players, LaVar Ball will have just built the textbook business model for raising a child or children destined for sports greatness.