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 fully funded, 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 (featuring 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. When accessing the website only a notice that says “Thank you for visiting Big Baller Brand. Our website is under construction we will be back soon. Thank you.” is shown.
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 (November 15, 2017). "The Big Baller Brand pop-up shop in Hong Kong was LIT". Lonzo Ball Wire. Retrieved February 12, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "Launching!". BigBallerBrand.com. April 14, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Lauletta, Tyler (June 22, 2017). "How the LaVar Ball family went from backyard training to potentially the next basketball family dynasty". Business Insider. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Stephens, Mitch (March 26, 2016). "The Architect: Father of the Ball brothers speaks about growth of Chino Hills". MaxPreps. Retrieved February 11, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "About Us". BigBallerBrand.com. Retrieved February 11, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Fenno, Nathan (January 8, 2018). "Big Baller Brand sued by apparel company over payments for hats, T-shirts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Gregory, Sean (March 15, 2017). "How One Family Is Beating the NCAA at Its Own Game". Time. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- DePaula, Nick; Rovell, Darren (November 24, 2017). "Big Baller Brand set to deliver to customers, fulfilling LaVar's vision". ESPN. Retrieved February 11, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Woolf, Jake (November 17, 2017). "How Big Baller Brand Was Saved by a Skechers-Funded Sneaker Start-Up". GQ. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- DePaula, Nick; Rovell, Darren (November 29, 2017). "Unboxing the Big Baller Brand ZO2 Prime Remix". ESPN. Retrieved February 11, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Peter, Josh (March 2017). "Building Basketball Brand on Ball Brothers". AthleticBusiness.com. Retrieved February 12, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "Big Baller Brand: Trademark Details". USPTO. Retrieved February 11, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- ""Built for this": Trademark Details". USPTO. Retrieved February 11, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "Big Baller Brand rift emerges as Lakers' Lonzo Ball severs ties with co-founder over money allegations". ESPN. March 25, 2019. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
- "The Big Baller Brand site appears to be shut down". USA Today. April 7, 2019.
- Rovell, Darren (May 5, 2017). "Ball debuts shoe line; main pair to cost $495". ESPN. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- Tracy, Marc (May 5, 2017). "At $495, Lonzo Ball's ZO2 Sneakers Have Tastemakers Saying No Thanks". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- "Athletes react to Big Baller Brand's ZO2 release". Sports Illustrated. May 5, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- Bieler, Des (May 5, 2017). "Big Baller Brand's $500 shoes are another shameless — and smart — move by LaVar Ball". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
- Wells, Adam (May 5, 2017). "LaVar Ball Says Anyone Who Can't Afford Lonzo's ZO2 Isn't a 'Big Baller'". Bleacher Report. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- "LaVar Ball wants $3B for shoe deal, sees no need to market to women". ESPN. May 18, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
- Barnewall, Chris (June 5, 2017). "LaVar Ball says $495 Big Baller Brand shoes nothing more than 'stitching and glue'". CBS Sports. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Calle, Franklyn (August 31, 2017). "LaMelo Ball Debuts The MB1 By Big Baller Brand". SLAM Magazine. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
- Gould, Andrew (August 31, 2017). "Big Baller Brand Unveils MB1 Signature Sneakers for LaMelo Ball". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- Polacek, Scott (December 4, 2017). "LiAngelo Ball to Get Signature 'Gelo 3' Big Baller Brand Shoe After Leaving UCLA". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "Footwear BSG Inc". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
- Rovell, Darren; DePaula, Nick (October 17, 2018). "LaVar Ball's company comes out with cheaper shoe". ESPN. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
- Amick, Sam (December 11, 2018). "LaMelo, LiAngelo Ball sign with Lithuanian pro team". USA Today. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Moton, Maurice (February 9, 2018). "LaVar Ball, Big Baller Brand Announce Partnership with Lithuanian Water Company". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Tsuji, Alysha (February 9, 2018). "LaVar Ball says he's going to sell Big Baller Brand water". For The Win. Retrieved February 12, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Rovell, Darren (December 21, 2017). "LaVar Ball plans to start league for high school graduates". ESPN. Retrieved February 11, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Destefano, Mike (January 18, 2018). "LaVar Ball Just Took a Big Step Toward Forming His Own Basketball League". Complex. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Rapaport, Daniel (December 20, 2017). "LaVar Ball Wants to Start a League for Players Who Don't Want to Go to College". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Rapaport, Daniel (January 5, 2018). "Prienu Vytautas to Play in 'Big Baller Brand Challenge Games'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Lauletta, Tyler (January 9, 2018). "Over 100,000 people watched LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball's Lithuanian debut on Facebook — and they were treated to a huge ad for Big Baller Brand". Business Insider. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- 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. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- 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.
- Official website (shutdown since April 2019)