Just like his older brother, LaMelo Ball has chosen to distance himself from the family business, Big Baller Brand.
Ball signed a multi-year shoe deal with Puma on Wednesday to become a face of the company’s basketball brand. His signature shoe is supposed to launch Nov. 18, the day of the NBA Draft. Ball is a consensus top-three prospect with some publications projecting him to go first overall.
“I am really excited to be joining the Puma family,” Ball said in a statement. “I believe the brand is the perfect partner for me because Puma will allow me to just be myself. I want to be 100 percent authentic, whether that’s playing basketball or showing off my personal style, and that’s what I want to do with Puma.”
The Ball patriarch, Lavar, launched Big Baller Brand as a way to try and further the notoriety of his sons, LiAngelo, Lonzo and LaMelo. The youngest Ball, LaMelo, had a signature shoe with BBB when he was 16. The “MB1” was paired with LaMelo’s forays into overseas professional basketball in Lithuania and New Zealand. LaMelo’s older brother Lonzo, who currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, doesn’t currently have a shoe deal after he himself distanced from BBB.
Puma had been out of the basketball shoe space for nearly two decades until recently. Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has a deal with Puma. So do young forwards R.J. Barrett of the Knicks and Michael Porter Jr. of the Nuggets. Ball is the latest young player Puma hopes will grow its brand.
“LaMelo’s physical gifts and dynamic play on the court, as well as his unique sense of personal style, make him a natural fit for Puma,” Puma global director of marketing Adam Petrick said in a statement. “We are thrilled to add him to our roster of talented athletes, and at just 19 years old, we can’t wait to see his impact on the broader culture surrounding basketball.”
Ball most recently played 12 games in the Australian professional league. At 6-7, Ball brings similar passing vision and ability as his brother Lonzo with what’s considered a more developed offensive game. The top-two picks in the 2020 NBA Draft are held by the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors. Both picks are reportedly on the trade block, so if someone really wants Ball on their roster, hooping in Pumas, he’s there for the taking.