Big Baller Brand
Big Baller Brand (BBB) is an American company that designs, manufactures, and sells clothing and shoes. Launched in 2016 by media personality LaVar Ball, it has most notably produced signature shoes for the Ball brothers: Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers, and LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball of the Los Angeles Ballers. Big Baller Brand has additionally been involved in the creation of the Junior Basketball Association (JBA), which it will fully fund, and both the Big Baller Brand Challenge Games and Big Baller Brand International Tournament, which were a series of Lithuanian exhibition games hosted by BC Vytautas that featured LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball.
|Headquarters||Chino Hills, California, U.S.|
|Products||Footwear and apparel|
Origins and history
On April 14, 2016, Big Baller Brand announced that it would soft launch by June 2016. Founded by personal trainer and retired football player LaVar Ball, the company was built on "core family values," according to its website. Ball later said that he created Big Baller Brand, which was based in Chino Hills, California, for his three sons: Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo Ball, who all played basketball at Chino Hills High School when it was established. He also stated that each of the three Bs on the company's logo stands for one of his sons.
Upon its launch in June, Big Baller Brand initially sold T-shirts, shorts, and sweatshirts through its online store. It partnered with a local design, printing, and shipping company, Garment Decor. In 2017, it also began working with sneaker company Brandblack for assistance in its shoe design. To maintain independence from Big Baller Brand, however, Brandblack created an offshoot creative agency Santa Ana Design for the partnership. Alan Foster, a family friend of LaVar Ball, has additionally become a manager and business associate of Big Baller Brand, helping design its signature shoes.
On March 7, 2017, Big Baller Brand was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and its official slogan "Built for this" was trademarked on February 7, 2018 after being filed for in May 2017.
In March 2019, it was reported that Lonzo Ball severed ties with co-founder of Big Baller Brand, Alan Foster, after concerns of his criminal past and alleged misuse of $1.5 million of Ball's personal and business accounts.
In April 2019, the Big Baller Brand website was shutdown, and is still inactive as of July 2019.
In May 2017, Big Baller Brand announced a November 2017 release of its first signature shoe, the ZO2 for Lonzo Ball. The base price of $495 garnered significant media attention. LaVar Ball responded on Twitter to critiques of the shoes' price: "If you can't afford the ZO2'S, you're NOT a BIG BALLER," for which he received further media criticism. In an interview with Colin Cowherd in May 2017, Ball said that if the big shoe companies like Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour want to make a deal with his Big Baller Brand, the asking price is $3 billion. He also said that Baller has sold between 400 to 520 ZO2 shoes. In another interview, Ball described the shoes as "stitching and glue," stating that they were "not that big of a deal."
On August 31, 2017, it announced the release of a signature shoe for LaMelo Ball, called the Melo Ball 1 (MB1), which was scheduled to be available in late 2017. According to Big Baller Brand, the shoe will be exceptionally light upon a request by Ball himself. The MB1 is currently priced at $395.
On December 4, 2017, Big Baller Brand revealed plans to create a signature shoe, known as the Gelo 3, for LiAngelo Ball after he left UCLA, following a shoplifting incident in China. Similar to the MB1, the Gelo 3 is also set at around $395. However, his shoes would later be renamed to the G3 Lux during his playing time in Lithuania.
The company's founder, LaVar Ball, also announced he would have signature shoes of not just his own, but a brand for his wife as well. LaVar's shoes are considered to be named "LaVariccis," while Tina Ball's signature shoes would be named "The Comeback," which was inspired by her recovery from a stroke she had in 2017.
After LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball signed their first professional contracts with Vytautas Prienai–Birštonas of the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL), Big Baller Brand saw an increased presence in Lithuania in 2018. On February 9, 2018, Big Baller Brand announced its partnership with the Lithuanian bottled water company Birštonas Mineral Water, a sponsor of Vytautas. LaVar Ball stated that Big Baller Brand would import water from Lithuania to the United States with a price similar to Perrier and S.Pellegrino products.
On December 20, 2017, LaVar Ball announced the creation of the Junior Basketball Association (JBA), a professional league completely funded by Big Baller Brand that is designed as an alternative to college basketball for high school graduates. The league, which launched in the summer of 2018, was expected to pay players $3,000 to $10,000 per month and include teams from several major American cities. According to Ball, players will be required to exclusively wear Big Baller Brand products, with uniforms, shoes, and other apparel provided by the company. On May 4, 2018, LaVar's youngest son, LaMelo Ball, was confirmed to be one of the players entering the upstart league, while also being touted as the face of the league by his father.
On January 5, 2018, Vytautas, the first professional team of LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball, announced that it would withdraw from the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) and in its place host five exhibition games to showcase the Ball brothers, called the Big Baller Brand Challenge Games. The games, which took place from January 9 to January 29 and were live streamed through Facebook, featured widespread advertisement of Big Baller Brand, with Business Insider commenting that the company was "the real star of the show." Shortly after the Ball brothers began playing professionally, LaVar Ball heavily invested in Vytautas, helping it pay off its debts and allowing Big Baller Brand to become the team's main sponsor as a result. The team was also involved with the Big Baller Brand International Tournament and a few other exhibition games involving the Chinese Basketball Association's Guangdong Southern Tigers and the British Basketball League's London Lions during the 2017–18 season, with the Big Baller Brand's founder coaching the team during those events.
On February 15, 2018, Lonzo Ball released his debut rap album, Born 2 Ball, under the Big Baller Music Group. The label was a subsidiary of the Big Baller Brand and would be run by a close friend of LaVar's.
In April 2018, after previously wearing the ZO2 shoes during a game, Jordan Crawford was the first professional basketball player not related to the Ball family to look into having a partnership with the company. Crawford also gave the company words of approval for what they are doing. A month later, rapper Quavo of Migos fame was seen promoting Lonzo Ball's Big Baller Brand merchandise on Instagram, with later reports suggesting that Quavo would be an ambassador of the Big Baller Brand.
In January 2018, Big Baller Brand was given an F grade by the Better Business Bureau, which said that Big Baller Brand "has a pattern of complaints", specifically that many customers have had to wait "weeks or even months to receive their order". Some customers alleged that they have received the wrong merchandise or even nothing at all, and that it had been difficult to contact the company. In May 2018, All-Star baseball player Adam Jones complained on social media that he just received his ZO2 Prime Remix shoes after ordering them a year earlier. A year later, Blair Looney of the Better Business Bureau stated that the Big Baller Brand still had an F grade and that "we are continuing to work with them on straightening things out."
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- Martin, Josh (February 2, 2018). "LaVar Ball paid 'a lot of money' for Big Baller Brand to sponsor LiAngelo, LaMelo's team". Lonzo Ball Wire. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Bieler, Des (8 January 2018). "LaVar Ball's Big Baller Brand gets 'F' rating from Better Business Bureau". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 January 2018.