How Lonzo Ball’s sneakers failed him during the NBA Summer League
It’s been five years since Lonzo Ball made his professional debut in the 2017 NBA Summer League. After a fantastic first season at UCLA, Ball was drafted by his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
The mild-mannered youngster let his game do the talking – and his dad, LaVar. The former NFL player had the national media eating out of the palm of his hand with outlandish claims and relentless self-confidence.
LaVar planned to build an activewear empire around his three sons, Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo. His eldest son, Lonzo, was the first to get his own signature sneaker from the family business – Big Baller Brand.
Lonzo’s signature sneaker, the ZO2, retailed for $495. Those who could afford the kicks had to wait months to receive them due to manufacturing issues. Worse still, sneakers have failed Lonzo during his professional matches.
Brand Big Baller ZO2
In his first Summer League game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Ball wore the white/purple colorway of the BBB ZO2. The match did not go as he had hoped. The boots started to fall apart, and Ball had just five points on 2-15 shots from the field.
Brand Big Baller ZO2
Although his shoes ripped every quarter, Ball persisted for one more game. He wore a black/gold colorway of the BBB ZO2 in his second Summer League game and fared much better. The Lakers rookie recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against the Boston Celtics.
Nike Kobe AD
Ball told his former business partner, Alan Foster, that he couldn’t where to wear his signature shoes anymore. They came up with the idea of rebranding the remaining games.
Lakers legend Kobe Bryant had the Nike Kobe AD on the market, and Ball quickly settled on the “Stardust” colorway. The ball went for 36 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists and five steals.
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After the match, Ball said, “You know, Mamba Mentality. I thought I’d switch. You can wear whatever you want when you play for Big Baller Brand. It’s just nice to go out and do that. “
Adidas Harden Vol. 1 LS
Ball liked the Adidas Harden Vol. 1 during his time at UCLA. After a spectacular season, Harden and Adidas have ditched a lifestyle of his signature sneaker for the summer. Ball wore the “Night Life” colorway to a match and proved he was capable of transitioning from lifestyle to performance.
Ball really came into its own. He had another triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Under Armor Curry 4
At this point, the hype surrounding what was on Lonzo’s feet was spiraling out of control. It might sound funny now, but coming out of UCLA, there were some legitimate comparisons between Ball and Stephen Curry. Both shattered defenses with their deep three-point attempts and physics-defying passes.
So Ball wore the Under Armor Curry 4 in the “Finals PE” colorway against the Brooklyn Nets. Ball led the Lakers to a semifinal victory with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
Jordan 31 Low
In his fifth and final match, Ball wore the Air Jordan 31 Low in the “Black Sheen” colorway. In three quarters, Ball had 14 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds.
But a calf strain led the Lakers coaching staff to shut down Ball for the game and the rest of the Summer League. Kyle Kuzma would lead the Lakers to the 2017 NBA Summer League Championship.
*Edit: Brandon Ingram was arrested in the 2017 Summer League opener. Thanks to our readers for reminding us Johnson’s magic moment.
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