You are either tired of hearing about this, or you are 100% immersed. You are either completely against it or holding on to any shred of evidence that you are right in your defense of such outlandish thoughts and behavior. I’m talking about Lavar Ball. I’m reluctantly talking about Lavar Ball. Trust me, I do not want to talk Lavar Ball. I am not a fan of extra people, and he is the very definition of the term, in my opinion. He does too much for my taste, and he loves the spotlight to shine brightest on him. Lavar Ball is the dude in high school that hangs with the cool kids and the athletes despite being neither; however, he’s obnoxious and kind of funny so everybody knows him.
After his multitude of media appearances that seemed to transform him from overzealous dad to all-out victim of the fire-breathing dragon that is fame, he became somewhat of a divisive figure. I mean, my man was skinning and grinning in front of any camera available, stretching his 15 minutes of fame into at least a half hour sitcom.
I don’t often agree with Stephen A. Smith, but when he emphatically declared to Lavar that something was indeed wrong with him, I agreed. However, among the loose strands of Lavar’s twisted proclamations, warped sense of reality, and insistence to dwell in utter delusion may – just may- lie a genius element. Some of the most maniacal characters in movies, comics, and the like were simply wayward geniuses. By no means am I saying Lavar Ball is a maniac.
Follow me for a second:
Two weeks ago, it became public knowledge that the Balls were politely shown the door by the three major sneaker companies due to Lavar’s requirement of a partnership that would lead to co-branding his much maligned Big Baller Brand. Lavar has reiterated that his boys will not be taken the cash cow for any other entity other than the Ball family. We all called BS on it. Amidst the onslaught of scrutiny from professionals and Twitter commentators alike – and him being laughed out of the door – Lavar stuck to his guns.
Days after being the laughing stock, Big Baller Brand dropped the ZO2 independently. I’m not going to get into the analytics of how much money was made because frankly I don’t care. In fact, I actually hope it works out for the family. I’m all for ownership. I’m not for burning bridges along the way, but ownership is key. I wish nothing but blessings to the Big Baller Brand on their journey to break the mold.
Beyond that, the shoes are hideous. Absolutely hideous. There’s not a single redeeming quality about the ZO2. They look like a knockoff pair of Maury’s with phony boost technology and an imitation Kobe 11 outsole. If I’m being 100% honest, I hated the shoe when I first saw it. Hated it! My pops was notorious for thinking Attack Force kicks from Payless compared favorably to the brand name counterparts they loosely imitated. The ZO2 look like a pair he would bring home, saying they “look just like [insert Nike shoe here]”.
The problem is, these low-budget carbon copies are anything but that. They are actually the polar opposite. Big Baller Brand’s first shoe was served to us in a luxurious patent leather snakeskin wrapping. Though this doesn’t stop the shoe from looking like a bad purse from the 80’s that would be worn by a frequent Miami club hopper with spritzed bangs and larger than normal shoulder pads in the jacket of her pant suit, it did allow for BBB to market the shoe as high-end and slap a very designer-esque $495 price tag on it.
I laughed hysterically when I saw that. Now, I was a shoe dude for many years of my life. I love sneakers as much as the next man, but half a rack? What exactly am I paying for? Style? No. Technology? No. In my mind, $500 is too much for TWO pair of shoes. Not to mention, I haven’t said “baller” since I was trying to explain to my mom which AND 1 shirt I wanted from the local Foot Locker in the early 2000’s. Put it like this, my favorite shoe of all-time is the Royal Jordan 1. My grails are the Lebron 7 “Red Carpet.” The Air Jordan 11 Low “Columbia” features my favorite color on my favorite silhouette and are laced with a number of fond childhood memories. Guess what? I don’t own any of them. I am not paying that much for shoes, bruh. I’m just not. I’m especially not paying that much for a pair of hoop shoes. I can’t even drop $200 on kicks anymore. Five years ago, I would have no problem doing so. As a soon to be married 34-year old man that is currently a part of the growing middle class, there is no way I can plausibly explain to my soon to be wife that spending over $200 on sneakers is a good idea. When I brought up the price tag of the ZO2 to her – strictly to get a reaction- she didn’t even care what they looked like or the story behind it. She simply giggled and moved on to the next subject.
The sneaker rollout caused mass hysteria, again. Interest in the brand spiked, as did their sales. The ZO2 led almost every news show –sports and otherwise- for two days straight. This is the strand of eccentric genius spoken about above that Lavar Ball may possess. I’m not here to say he’s right or wrong for his way of going about business or how he has raised “his boys.” I applaud the family for their sons making it as far as they have. It is no easy task. I hope he makes tons of money and changes the very landscape of athlete relationships with sneaker companies. I salute him with a standing ovation for sticking to his independent guns. Again, I wish a long, illustrious career to all of the Ball brothers in the league. Saying all of this, it is imperative for Lonzo to be great, and be great in a hurry. Being a good, solid pro is not good enough at this point. Average rap bars aside, the responsibility of Big Baller Brand rests on his slightly sloped shoulders. Hopefully, the first peek of Lonzo on an NBA court looks better than the ZO2 will.
**Note** This is Example 2/5 of our coiski 101: How to Effectively Write Descriptive Articles lesson.