Sportswear giants Nike are reportedly keen on signing LaMelo Ball to a shoe deal, according to TMZ.
The youngest Ball brother is said to be open to signing a deal outside of his father's Big Baller Brand and the publication has been made aware that Nike has "serious interest" in working with him.
TMZ claims that their sources within the company have disclosed that they are actively scouting the 18-year-old as he plays professional basketball in Australia. They have not made a formal offer as yet but the interest is "real" and it's being helped by the fact that the youngster has chosen to play with Nike sneakers instead of shoes from his family's BBB.
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LaMelo's older brother Lonzo is heading into his third year in the NBA and was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans during the summer. The point guard, a former No.1 overall pick, is already distancing himself from the Big Baller Brand and had the BBB tattoo on his arm covered up earlier this year. His manager also urged everyone to throw away their ZO2 sneakers.
He's since sued former BBB executive Alan Foster for stealing millions from the company and is now also open to signing a shoe deal outside of the brand.
All of this does not bode well for Melo and Lonzo's father LaVar Ball, who is trying to revive BBB after a failed first attempt at impacting the market. It also appears that there is a rift growing between himself and Lonzo over the brand and he recently drew criticism after implying that the former Los Angeles Lakers guard is "damaged goods."
Meanwhile, Melo is already being tipped to become the No.1 pick in the 2020 draft by NBA scouts.
“His style of play is tailor made for the NBA game,” a scout told ESPN this week. “[LaMelo] reminds me of Luka Doncic,” a second NBA scout told Givony. “Just in terms of his size, his feel, his creativity.”