KRISTINE LEAHY IS POKING THE BEAR

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You might not know who LaVar Ball is, but I think you should. LaVar Ball is a fascinating man who is captivating the sports world with his persistent and often over-the-top promotion of this family and entrepreneurial endeavors. His family is comprised of a wife and three incredibly talented young men, all who play basketball. The eldest, Lonzo, just finished his first and only year at UCLA and is expected to be one of the top picks in this year’s NBA draft. The middle son, LiAngelo, is a UCLA basketball team commit and the youngest, LaMelo, is still perfecting his craft at the high school level. LaVar has strategically built a brand, figuratively and literally, around his basketball playing family. He speaks of his sons’ talents in seemingly hyperbolic ways and provides no holds barred commentary. Beyond the talk, he created the Big Baller Brand, an apparel company, owned exclusively by the Ball family. While BBB started with hats, t-shirts and sweats, LaVar has taken the brand to the next level by making a shoe, Lonzo’s signature shoe, the ZO2. The ZO2 and matching slide ($220), which sells for between $495 and $1195, is sold exclusively on BBB’s website and without any licensing, endorsement or sponsorship from the large brands like Nike or Adidas. It’s a pretty bold step to turn down millions upon millions of dollars in potential endorsement money in an effort to grow one’s personal and ancestral wealth. I hope the Ball family collects big, big checks into infinity for taking such a leap of faith.

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