Big Baller Brand, owned and operated by former NFL tight end LaVar Ball, is known for making ludicrously expensive shoes. But last Sunday LaVar went on Instagram for a live Q&A and said he may be about to come out with the most expensive basketball shoe ever made.
As Ball seems to be coming out with branded footwear for each of his sons, a fan asked when LaVar would come out with his own self-branded pair of kicks. LaVar responded in true Ball fashion.
“I just don’t know when I’m coming out with it yet. ‘The LaVar-iccis!’ Holler at your boy! But I will give you a tip,” Ball replied. “Make sure you save your money because they’re gonna be $1,500 or more. Cause I’m gonna design them and they’re gonna be fly. My bad—they’re gonna be baller-ized.”
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It sounds like the mad boasts of a business mogul with more money than sense, but he’s come out with some pretty impressively priced footwear before. His son Lonzo’s shoes sell for $495.00, and the autographed version has a price tag big enough to make any budding baller blanch at $995.00.
Eldest son Lonzo isn’t the only Ball with their own set of branded footwear. Even though he’s a high school junior, little LeMelo Ball is also coming out with his own set of sneakers for the practically fire-sale price of $395.00. Called the MB1, they’re on pre-sale now and are set to ship on Dec. 23, 2017. Not in time for Christmas, but maybe for New Years.
LeMelo hopes to follow his brother Lonzo into UCLA and play for their college basketball team, but him having his own shoes may have thrown a wrench in his plans. “Generally speaking, a college athlete or prospect paid for use of their athletics reputation or ability risks their future eligibility in that sport,” said NCAA spokesperson Emily James to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
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“This includes profiting from the sale of items bearing the young person’s name,” he continued. “NCAA rules, however, do allow prospects to promote commercial products prior to enrollment, provided it is not for pay.”
UCLA also issued their own statement following the controversy. “UCLA cannot comment on any prospective student-athlete until he or she has signed a letter of intent or scholarship agreement,” they said. “Any prospective student-athlete’s amateur status needs to be certified prior to his or her participating in team activity. As such, NCAA eligibility is assessed at the start of every student-athlete’s academic year and is re-evaluated, as needed. Once cleared by the NCAA, institutions can allow that student-athlete to participate.”
The Ball patriarch responded to ESPN simply saying “we’ll worry about it when we get there.”
Just to put this into perspective, while collectors can certainly pay upwards of thousands of dollars for a pair of vintage basketball shoes, even the best modern pair rarely sells for over $300.
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