It hasn’t taken long for Los Angeles Lakers rookie and No. 2 draft pick Lonzo Ball to become one of the hottest stories in the entire NBA. And maybe that’s exactly the way that he or his father LaVar Ball wanted everything to play out.
Ball has his own shoe, a $495 pair that falls under his families “Big Baller Brand,” which are called the ZO2’s. They even come in Lakers colors, after originally being released in black. But, he’s made a few switches in his shoe game throughout the 2017 NBA Summer League, and actually didn’t wear his own brand of shoes in the last two games.
The question that’s on everyone’s mind, though, is why is Ball not only wearing Big Baller Brand shoes? After wearing Nike Kobe AD’s on Wednesday, he decided to wear James Harden’s signature Adidas shoe on Thursday, as ESPN showed.
While it’s unknown exactly why Ball is changing up the shoes, he did give an answer to TNT’s David Aldridge after wearing Nikes, but it didn’t really actually explain the situation at all.
Let’s look at a few possible scenarios for why Ball may be opting to wear other brands of shoes instead of his own ZO2s.
Because He Can
I know no one actually wants this to be the answer, and it’s not because “when you’re a big baller, you can wear whatever you want.” Actually, it’s because he technically can wear whatever he wants. He has no shoe deal that locks him into one brand. If he decided he wanted to go out and switch brands mid-game, he could do that.
So, maybe Ball is using this time to try out different shoes and decide what he wants to rotate through as the 2017-18 NBA season goes on. It’s not the craziest answer and it pretty much would put to bed all the fun speculation, but it’s very possibly the most likely option on this entire list.
Because He Feels Better Playing in Other Shoes
As someone who’s never even touched a pair of Big Baller Brand ZO2’s, I have no idea how comfortable (or uncomfortable) they are. Maybe they’re incredible to the touch and fit beautifully on your foot. Or maybe they hurt your feet and feel awful when trying to play basketball in them. Regardless, maybe Ball is just more comfortable wearing other shoes right now.
It’s all speculation because Ball hasn’t given an actual answer on this, but after what Ball Don’t Lie’s Eric Freeman called his “best Summer League game” in Nike’s, it can’t be ignored. Ball posted a crazy stat line of 36 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals. Plus, his Lakers won 103-102 in comeback fashion.
As if that wasn’t enough to point to how Ball feels in the shoes, he posted a triple-double wearing Harden’s shoe on Thursday, with 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, as Victor Galvez of Clutch Points broke down.
But with all that being said, maybe the stat Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated pointed out makes that all a moot point.
Maybe Ball is just really, really good at basketball, regardless.
Marketing or a Push to Work with a Major Brand
Ball wearing other shoes draws so much attention that maybe, just maybe, LaVar Ball and his son are doing this as a way to show the major shoe brands the type of attention that can be drawn by having the Lakers point guard on their team. This comes after ESPN reported back in late April that Nike, Under Armour and Adidas all opted not to work on an endorsement deal with Lonzo after LaVar insisted that the companies license his Big Baller Brand for him.
Lonzo’s decision to wear other shoes could actually be helping show the major brands that he’s worth taking the extra steps that it would take to sign him. Whether or not it’s working is unknown, but it’s possible. On the flip side there’s always a chance that the Ball’s are just doing this as a way to generate more interest around the Big Baller Brand as a whole. Every time that the attention is on Ball and what shoes he’s wearing, the name “Big Baller Brand” starts floating around the internet more and more.