The headlines will scream that Lonzo Ball ditched Big Baller Brand Shoes for Nikes in just his third Summer League game. After a slow start to his summer, Ball switched to a pair of Kobes with LeBron James in attendance. Lonzo immediately showed out, putting up 36, 11 and 8.
The real story: Lonzo Ball was wearing Nike. You know who else wears Nike? LeBron James. This was as much about the possible NBA Rookie of the Year joining Nike as it is about LeBron joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
Better shoe companies should have already been sending Lonzo truckloads of free stuff in purple and gold, but at least now they know Lonzo might actually put them on. Why? Because suddenly he can make his own choices.
You know who else can make his own choices? LeBron James. Everyone knows LA’s target in 2018 is LeBron (along with Paul George), and for a year LaVar Ball will grimace whenever his son wears something besides overpriced Big Baller Brand sneakers. But when the presales for $220 slides start to fade, the Ball family will be happy to “settle” for the biggest sneaker company in the world. And if Lonzo keeps balling like he did in his unofficial Nike brand ambassador debut, LeBron is a lot more likely to settle for the Lakers. He already looks so happy in purple.