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LaMelo Ball hasn’t been drafted yet but he’s already making Ball brother history.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Ball is finalizing an endorsement deal with Puma, making him the first Ball brother to sign a shoe endorsement deal. Well, a shoe endorsement deal beyond Big Baller Brand, papa Lavar Ball’s scandal-ridden, likely defunct shoe brand.
Ball, 19, is expected to go in the top five of the NBA draft in October, if not No. 1 overall. The COVID-19 shutdown didn’t affect him, as Ball chose to play professionally during and after high school instead of going to college and playing in the NCAA. He played for Prienai of the Lithuanian Basketball League in 2017, and for the Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s National Basketball League in 2019. He also played for his father’s fledgling Junior Basketball Association in 2018, but like most of Lavar’s ventures, it’s no longer operational and the less said about it, the better.
The last marquee sneaker free agent to come out of a draft class was Zion Williamson in 2019, but there haven’t been too many. Before Zion, the biggest was probably Michael Jordan. Williamson signed a five-year, $75 million deal with Jordan Brand in July 2019, but even he had to wait until after he was drafted to get a shoe deal. Ball reportedly has one before a single team has drafted a single player.
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