Lonzo Ball came out with his signature shoe, and it’s as ridiculous as you might think.
The potential No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft was notoriously spurned by Nike, Under Armour and Adidas after his blowhard father’s Big Ballers Brand sought a $1 billion partnership deal, so a week later the Balls instead produced a signature shoe — the ZO2 — under their own brand.
It’s pretty great that Lonzo Ball unveiled a sneaker with a video set to an NSFW song with the lyrics “money thicker than a Spalding” and “30 points, no assists, woo.” The independent release of his shoe is said to be the first by a player still awaiting the draft.
It’s not so much that the shoe itself is ridiculous. If anything, it looks like something Nike, Under Armour or Adidas would release (or already have released). It’s that they’re charging $495 for a pair.
That’s more than twice the cost of any other player’s signature shoe, including Michael Jordan ($185), LeBron James ($175), Kobe Bryant ($160), Kevin Durant ($150) and Stephen Curry ($135). In fact, you can buy four pairs of shoes from Kyrie Irving ($120) or Chris Paul ($115) for the price of one pair of ZO2s.
The Sports World is Forever Changed. Introducing Lonzo's 1st Signature Shoe: The ZO2 Prime. pic.twitter.com/5JN1OLxlZS
— Big Baller Brand (@bigballerbrand) May 4, 2017
And if you have a grand to blow on a 19-year-old’s homemade shoes, there’s this, via Slam magazine:
There is also a limited ZO2 WET Autographs edition, which will come in a key-locked glass box with a floor mirror, LED lights and an autograph from the Chino Hills prodigy himself. It will cost $995.
Or you could buy a pair of sandals for a cool $220:
Needless to say, they are already being ridiculed on social media, including by current NBA players:
When I was a kid I could barely get $14.95 for some Starbury's… "hey mom can I borrow 5hundo for some shoes" https://t.co/TTwR0zQf3K
— Frank Kaminsky III (@FSKPart3) May 4, 2017
There is something admirable about circumventing the middle man — in this case a billion-dollar shoe company — to create one’s own brand, but that comes with inherent risks, too. A Nike or Under Armour can survive when a player is injured in their shoes, but God forbid Ball turns an ankle in his independent shoe. That could be a public relations nightmare for Big Baller Brand.
And what if nobody buys this $495 shoe? These are scenarios that could sink a startup company awfully quick, but if nothing else, Lonzo Ball’s father isn’t one to think small when it comes to his son.
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