LaVar Ball was full of Ball bluster and ball bluster on behalf of himself and son Lonzo on Jimmy Kimmel‘s late night show. A highly regarded NBA prospect out of UCLA, Lonzo lets his father talk him up like he’s about to star in Space Jam 2 — which, so far, is the only basketball-slash-marketing-related monster claim LaVar hasn’t made for his son. Lonzo Ball’s sneaker line will be worth $3 billion, dad says, and maybe he’s right. The way basketball is growing worldwide the “next Jordan” or “next Kobe” or “next LeBron” could well have a billion dollar franchise on his feet. Will it be Ball? Who knows. But where LaVar Ball makes his mistake is in knocking Michael Jordan‘s prowess to claim his son’s greatness — he should study Jordan instead.
[Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made — how to become a billionaire legend]
Ball the father talks about how when Jordan entered the NBA he could never sell a $495 basketball shoe like Lonzo Ball is doing. (The father and son have started their own shoe company, instead of taking $ from Nike or Under Armour.) But Ball knows he’s talking smack — maybe he studied the presidential election and realized it’s the currency of the realm. Jordan really did sell the equivalent of the $495 shoe when he entered the NBA — it was just 1984 and dollars were different. Instead of dissing Jordan, LaVar Ball might profitably read David Halberstam’s exceptional book, Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made. (see above) It shows how you really start a billion dollar brand.