Lonzo Ball…..You either love him or hate him, BUT regardless you are tuning into to watch him play, in Summer League. Let that sink in, you (and I) are turning on your TV to catch a Summer League game between the Lakers and the Mavericks for one reason, well maybe two, to check out how the eldest Ball boy is doing….and to see what kind of shoes he’s wearing.
The Summer League ratings are breaking records both in attendance and on television, and you can lie to yourself all you want, but the only reason is Lonzo Ball. Even LeBron James, the best player in the NBA, is skipping the ESPYs to sit courtside at a Lakers game. He even posted on Instagram what kind of shoes Lonzo Ball was wearing in the game. Steph Curry, the 2 time MVP (once unanimous) and 2 time Champion, also one of the few faces of the NBA, was rumored to have given Lonzo his own personal unreleased Curry 4 shoes so that Ball could wear them in a game. If that isn’t respect, then call me stupid because I don’t know what respect is.
The questions that I often hear are “How good can Lonzo Ball be?” and “Why is Lonzo Ball so popular (and have such a following)?” as well as “Why is Lonzo letting his father screw up all his marketing/sponsorship opportunities?!”. Well let me delve into the answers now.
Let us first look into how good Lonzo Ball can be. I was talking to a friend of mine recently and I got to thinking how much pressure Zo has to live up to insane expectations and be the face of the Lakers. He could easily crumble from the pressure but instead he seemingly plays better when the lights are shining brightest (although we are just starting) and gives PERFECT answers and has such a calm demeanor during every interview that I’ve seen.
You laughed, I laughed, even Lonzo probably laughed when his outspoken father Lavar said that he was better than Steph Curry and would surpass LeBron as the face of the NBA, etc…. BUT everything this family does and says lately seems to be working out for them, so who am I to doubt what will happen. He will be the clear cut leader and face of the Lakers when the season begins, and Magic Johnson will give him every reason to succeed and lead this young Lakers squad to a winning season this year and playoffs/Championships in the future.
Next, I’m going to look into why Lonzo Ball is so popular. I honestly don’t know the exact reason BUT even I am enamored in the Ball hysteria, and as a lifelong Warriors fan the Lakers are the enemy. I should (and do) hate the Lakers. Can’t stand Kobe, disliked Shaq and on down the list. 3 Lakers I have always liked however are Magic Johnson, Luke Walton and now Lonzo Ball. So that may be part of the reason I can’t seem to HATE this team (at least until they actually start beating us and keeping us from Titles). I feel that Lonzo has seen so much popularity because of his flashy play and his unbelievable ability to throw a 75 foot pass over the defenders outstretched arms and right into his teammates hands.
You throw in the loud and flashy albeit extremely talented family from Southern California and you have a reality show right in front of you (not surprisingly they have a reality show in the works). They know what sells in this day and age and they know people will buy it all up. I’m already looking forward to going to the first Lakers vs Warriors game this coming year. Take my money.
Lastly, speaking of money, why does Lonzo let his dad seemingly screw up all of his marketing and sponsorship opportunities? I know Zo had offers from multiple shoe companies that his dad basically turned down because they weren’t the Billion $ deals he was after and since then Zo has had lackluster success selling his own signature shoe made by his own company (Big Baller Brand) however, I think this is all part of a bigger plan. Seeing the intrigue into which shoe he’s going to wear tonight has to be eye opening to the top brands out there. I don’t see them getting a Billion $ deal, BUT I know it’ll be more than the $20 million he would have signed after he was drafted. I think, actually I know that Lavar Ball has a plan and motive for everything he does, and rather than losing $$ for his son, he’s actually going to get it tenfold for him sooner than later. MARK MY WORD.
All in all, er I mean “Ball in Ball”, we can deny it all we want, but we can’t get enough of this BallMentality and what happens next. When I look at what the Lakers have built recently, I can’t help but see countless similarities between them and my team, the Warriors. First, they hire a smart and savvy former agent in Rob Pelinka (Bob Myers) to be the GM. Next, a well respected NBA all timer and HOFer in Magic Johnson (Jerry West) to advise and recruit, etc. Hired a former NBA player and unproven coach in Luke Walton (Marc Jackson and then Steve Kerr) as head coach. Then they build their core through high draft picks and get a steal later in the draft in Ingram, Ball and Kuzma seems to be a steal (Thompson, Curry and Draymond Green was a steal) and last but not least, they top it off with a top Superstar in Free Agency.
You know they will get some big name player like PG13, LeBron, etc ( just like we did last offseason with Durant). They had seen the blueprint and it looks like they will succeed because they followed it. Whether Lonzo Ball succeeds or falls flat on his face, I know one thing, you and I will be watching every minute of it. And I know one thing, Lavar Ball seems to “will it into existence” and I’m not going to ever doubt that family again.
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One of the Four-Guys