LaMelo Ball has signed a multi-year shoe endorsement deal with Puma. The 19-year old point guard is expected to be the one of the top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft on November 18. The shoe will be launched on the same day.
In a statement, Ball said, “I am really excited to be joining the Puma family. I believe the brand is the perfect partner for me because Puma will allow me to just be myself. I want to be 100 percent authentic, whether that’s playing basketball or showing off my personal style, and that’s what I want to do with Puma.”
Puma relaunched its “Hoops” shoe line in 2018 after an almost two-decade hiatus. Ball joins other Puma endorsers such as Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. and Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier.
The 6’ 7” (2.01 m) Ball, who last played for the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL), is no stranger to shoe endorsements. At 16, when he was playing for Chino Hills High School in California, he had his first signature shoe “MB1” from Big Baller Brand which was co-founded by his father LaVar Ball.
LaMelo’s older brother, 22-year old Lonzo, formerly with the Los Angeles Lakers and now with the New Orleans Pelicans, currently doesn’t have a shoe endorsement contract. Recently, Lonzo severed ties with Big Baller Brand co-founder and family friend Alan Foster. Lonzo alleged that Foster stole $1.5 million from his personal and business accounts.
With LaMelo’s signing with Puma and Lonzo now free to entertain offers from giant shoe brands, Big Ballers Brand is headed for an imminent demise.
Ever since its inception in 2016, Big Ballers Brand has struggled with poor sales and near-bankruptcy brought about by incompetent management and exorbitantly-priced merchandise. The design and quality of Big Baller Brand shoes have also been questioned. In 2019, Los Angeles Lakers management suspected Lonzo’s Big Ballers Brand shoes as the cause of his recurring ankle injuries.