Is Lakers G Lonzo Ball leaving Big Baller Brand for Nike?

Is the end of Big Baller Brand imminent? (AP)
Is the end of Big Baller Brand imminent? (AP)

On Friday, ESPN dropped a Ball family bombshell with a report that Lonzo Ball had parted ways with a former confidant who was a co-owner and the inspiration behind Big Baller Brand.

The breakup is centered around $1.5 million in funds allegedly missing from the company account that Ball’s advisers have pinned on Alan Foster, who was a 16.3 percent owner of Big Baller Brand.

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Lonzo just cut ties with Big Baller Brand partner

“[Foster] used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself,” Ball told ESPN. “As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately."

Foster has a criminal history that includes a seven-year prison sentence in 2002 for defrauding 70 investors of $4 million. Foster pleaded guilty in that case to one count of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

Does Instagram post point to Nike?

On Saturday, Ball posted this on Instagram, fueling speculation that Ball is leaving Big Baller Brand — which he is the majority owner of — for Nike.

The focus of the post is on Ball’s dream of having his jersey hung among Los Angeles Lakers greats in the rafters of the Staples Center.

But there are certainly undercurrents there that allude to a potential change of apparel. The Nike swoosh on Ball’s Lakers jersey in the image is prominently placed next to the caption reading, “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it,” a Nike slogan.

The text below the photo reads, “Moving on to bigger and better #MyOwnMan.”

If that’s not an allusion to putting an end to the Big Baller Brand for Nike while separating his decisions from those of his father LaVar Ball, then it certainly seems like one.

Separating himself from LaVar?

Ball noted in the ESPN report that it was he — not his father — who made the decision to cut ties with Foster.

LaVar Ball, of course, has been the boisterous face of Big Baller Brand, pushing the shoe and apparel that has largely been a failure. The company was slow to deliver on the debut of its $495 ZO2 shoes. When they finally arrived, they weren’t the same product as advertised

Consumer complaints prompted the Better Business Bureau to award Big Baller Brand a grade of F.

LaVar Ball was also a driving force in allowing Foster into the family business, according to ESPN.

BBB shoes cause of concern for Lakers

The Lakers were concerned this season that Ball’s season-ending ankle injury could be partly attributed to wearing Big Baller Brand shoes, according to ESPN.

From the report:

"Yeah, they talked to me," Ball told ESPN. "They asked me about it, and I told 'em, 'I feel comfortable.’ If I wasn't comfortable, I wouldn't play in 'em. If I didn't play in [ BBB shoes], I'd play in Kobe [Bryant's signature Nike shoe]. I work out in [LeBron James' signature Nike shoe], but that's because they're heavier."

So yeah. This all seems to add up to Ball pointing to a future with Nike. But as tends to be the case with omnipresent Ball family drama, nothing is clear-cut.

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