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#pounditMonday, October 18, 2021

Lonzo Ball

Charles Barkley not a fan of Lonzo Ball’s ‘big mouth’ dad LaVar

LaVar Ball Crying Jordan

Charles Barkley is not a fan of LaVar Ball and made that clear once again.

Barkley appeared as a guest on ESPN’s “Get Up” show Wednesday morning and talked about Lonzo Ball breaking ties from Big Baller Brand, the apparel company started by Lonzo’s father, LaVar.

Barkley praised Lonzo for finally breaking free from his dad’s influence and threw a couple jabs at LaVar, calling him a “big mouth jacka–.”

“He should have been his own man from the beginning,” Barkley said of Lonzo. “You can’t let your family members piggy back off your success. This thing has been a disaster from day one. It was never going to work, and I feel bad. His big mouth, jacka– dad has put his kid in an awkward situation all year. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to the kid, but I don’t like his dad at all, and this thing has been a joke from the beginning.”

There are some things I agree with Barkley on and some I disagree with him.

Yes, Lonzo should have been making his own choices from the beginning, but the Big Baller Brand concept has not been a disaster, and certainly wasn’t a bad idea. LaVar and his family achieved extreme awareness for their brand and also seemed to have pretty good sales. The problem is they just never had sufficient infrastructure in place for delivering merchandise, managing customers, and handling orders. That’s why they ended up with an F rating from the Better Business Bureau.

LaVar’s big mistake was overplaying his hand when Lonzo entered the league. They would have been better off cutting some sort of deal with a sneaker company to license the brand and logo, which would have allowed the difficult work to fall with the experts — the shoe companies — while still allowing for growth of their personal brand.

Look: Lonzo Ball covers up Big Baller Brand tattoo

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball is moving on from Big Baller Brand and means business.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard had his Big Baller Brand logo tattoo covered up. His tattoo artist, Herchell Carrasco, posted a photo on Instagram showing the work he did to cover up the logo on the back of Ball’s forearm, near his elbow. The artist converted the BBB logo to dice that display the numbers 1, 2 and 3 — the numbers Lonzo and each of his brothers wear on the court.

This is the latest twist in a series of moves where Lonzo has distanced himself from Big Baller Brand. He broke ties with a Big Baller Brand co-founder after seeing $1.5 million go missing. He then posted on Instagram a hint at leaving BBB for Nike.

There is now even chatter that Big Baller Brand has considered folding. The brand was created by LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of Lonzo and his two other brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo. Though LaVar once looked like king of the world while Lonzo starred at UCLA and the two other boys had scholarships there, things started unraveling one piece at a time. The family’s efforts to build their own brand seemed successful, but Lonzo appears to feel he is better off elsewhere.

Report: Ball family has discussed folding Big Baller Brand

Lonzo Ball

Things seem to be unraveling for the Ball family’s business interests.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Ball family has privately considered shutting down Big Baller Brand and all other business ventures involving former partner Alan Foster.

Foster is the subject of suspicion after Lonzo Ball broke all ties with the Big Baller Brand co-founder over $1.5 million in missing money and the revelation of a criminal past. Ball has also hinted at leaving BBB in a cryptic Instagram post.

Ultimately, the consequences of LaVar Ball’s questionable business decisions in the past may be wide-ranging and may lead to the end of the brand. Lonzo, at the very least, seems eager to move on and take control of his own personal situation.

LeBron James impressed with Lonzo Ball for taking control of career

LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball’s recent off-court moves have the approval of teammate LeBron James.

James said he was impressed by Ball, who seems to be shifting his off-court priorities and taking control of his own career. He has also hinted at moving to Nike, which James said he’d welcome, but the important thing to him is that Ball is growing up.

“I love the fact that he’s taking control of his [stuff],” James said, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. “I mean, he’s, that’s what’s really, really dope to me. Once I saw that story I just seen a kid turning into a man. ‘This is my career and I’m taking this. I done had enough with — whatever. I done had enough. Whatever. If I’m not going to be successful, I’m not going to be successful on my terms.’ I saw a lot of that. We’ll see.”

Ball has been criticized at times for the amount of influence his controversial father has held over him, but his move to cut ties with a Big Baller Brand co-founder over alleged fraud looks to be all him. James has learned plenty about controlling his own image and career over the years, so it’s no wonder he’s impressed.

Lonzo Ball hints on Instagram at leaving Big Baller Brand for Nike

Lonzo Ball

Friday’s news about Lonzo Ball potentially losing $1.5 million due to the mishandling by a Big Baller Brand co-founder may have been the prelude to an even bigger announcement.

Ball hinted on Instagram Saturday that he could be leaving Big Baller Brand for Nike. The post included a photo of him in a Nike Lakers jersey, along with a Nike motto: “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it.”

View this post on Instagram

Moving on to bigger and better #MyOwnMan

A post shared by Lonzo Ball (@zo) on

The caption was equally significant. “Moving on to bigger and better #MyOwnMan” suggests he is moving on and also not afraid to leave the brand/vision created by his father.

Had Ball announced out of nowhere that he was leaving Big Baller Brand, many would have wondered why. Now people have somewhat of a better understanding after learning about Ball’s issues with one of the company co-founders.

In general, distancing himself from his outspoken father may prove helpful for his career.

Lonzo Ball breaks ties with Big Baller Brand co-founder after $1.5 million goes missing

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball has severed ties with one of the family’s close business advisers over $1.5 million in missing money.

According to Ramona Shelburne and Paula Lavigne of ESPN, Ball has severed all ties, “effective immediately,” with Alan Foster, a business manager and co-founder of Big Baller Brand, the Los Angeles Lakers guard said in a statement.

Foster has known LaVar Ball for a decade and is said to be the man who convinced the Ball family patriarch to form his own shoe brand instead of signing an established deal. The discrepancy came about last fall, when Lonzo Ball’s financial adviser was unable to account for $1.5 million.

In their reporting, ESPN discovered that Foster was convicted of money laundering in 2002 as part of a fraud scheme and spent time in prison, which the Ball family was unaware of.

This is not the first time Big Baller Brand has come in for some public scrutiny, but this is pretty damaging for Lonzo personally. It appears he’s taking aggressive steps to weed out the problem.

Lakers shut Lonzo Ball down for the season due to ankle injury

Lonzo Ball

The Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly raising the white flag for the current season.

The Lakers are shutting Lonzo Ball down for the rest of the season, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports. The news comes as no surprise as Ball was getting a medical check on his ankle Saturday and the expectation was he would be shut down.

Not only is Ball out for the season, but the Lakers also announced that Brandon Ingram would likely miss the rest of the season. The team will also limit LeBron James’ minutes over the rest of the season. Oh yeah, and did we mention that Kyle Kuzma continues to miss time with his recent ankle injury?

The Lakers entered the season with great optimism and actually were in good shape until LeBron injured his groin on Christmas. Since then, the team has been crushed by injuries and fallen well behind in the playoff race.

The Lakers have gone 5-13 since Ball got hurt.

Lonzo Ball may miss remainder of season with ankle injury

Lonzo Ball ankle injury

The Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff hopes have all but faded out of existence, and any lingering hopes received a major blow on Friday.

According to coach Luke Walton, guard Lonzo Ball could be out for the remainder of the season and is not close to a return from his ankle injury.

The original prognosis on Ball’s injury was 4-to-6 weeks, but that’s going to pass with no sign of his return. With the team’s playoff hopes fading, there’s also little reason to rush him back. While he’s not a star on offense, the Lakers have definitely missed his defense over the past few weeks as they’ve faded from playoff contention.

10 NBA players who could be big factors in the playoff race

Blake Griffin Pistons

The playoff races are well underway in the NBA, and things are very competitive in both conferences. It looks likely that only a handful of games will separate fifth from eighth in certain cases, and the margins between making and missing the playoffs will be small.

Most contenders have key figures who will have a big say in where their teams land. These aren’t always the obvious stars, but a key name who’s returning from injury or picking up the slack at the right time. Here are 10 key players who will have a big say in the playoff races.

10. Buddy Hield, G, Kings

Hield has had a breakout year this season, but he hasn’t always been in the good graces of coach Dave Joerger, much to the frustration of some other players. The Kings are very much in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, and they’ll need Hield to play fearlessly — and have the trust of his coach — down the stretch. If he can play to his capabilities — like when he made 53.4 percent of his threes in January — the Kings will have a huge weapon as they chase a playoff spot.


Lonzo Ball plays appropriate music after trade deadline passes

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball seems to be having some fun with the whole NBA trade deadline situation.

Thursday’s trade deadline passed without the Los Angeles Lakers making a massive trade for Anthony Davis. They made a smaller deal with the Clippers that sent Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley packing, but several of their other players they were dangling in Davis talks remained.

What does Ball think about that? He seemed to let everyone know with his musical choice played on Instagram.

Ball shared a video on his Instagram story of him playing the Puff Daddy song “Bad Boy for Life,” which includes the lyrics, “we ain’t going nowhere.”

Nope, the young Lakers aren’t. Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram were mentioned in trade talks for Davis but ended up staying. Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson were also part of their reported offer for Davis and still are with the team. That means the Lakers and LeBron James will have to kiss and make up with nearly half their team.

Meanwhile, Pelicans GM Dell Demps is probably laughing about the whole matter, as he reportedly sabotaged the Lakers in revenge for them tampering with Davis.