The Ball family created yet another firestorm on Thursday when they unveiled Lonzo Ball's first signature shoe under the family brand, the ZO2, with a price tag of $495.
Last week, it was reported that Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas were spurning the younger Ball as a potential athlete endorser because his father, LaVar, rejected a traditional endorsement deal and demanded the family's Big Baller Brand cobrand with one of the athletic-shoe giants.
On Friday, LaVar was asked on "The Dan Le Batard Show" why he decided to charge $495 for the shoes. In typical LaVar fashion, his answer was part confidence, part humor, part simplicity, and a whole lot of boisterous.
"I figured that's what the shoe was worth," Ball told Le Batard. "I liked the way it sounds. You see, when you are your own owner, you can come up with any price you want."
Ball said he wasn't in competition with Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour and that they were battling below Big Baller Brand.
"Let Nike and Adidas and Under Armour — they battling below me," Ball said. "They'll go ahead and put all their stuff in Foot Locker. I'm better than them. I'm a step above."
As for why the shoe was specifically priced at $495 and not, say, $500, Ball again acted like the question was a bit absurd.
"Five hundred dollars?! Four-ninety-five sounds better," Ball said. "I like three different digits."
Ball further defended the shoe's price by saying it was "symbolic" — Lonzo is the first basketball player to have a brand before entering the NBA. He also said there was some value in knowing that his son "designed all of it" and that other shoe companies don't allow rookies to do that.
Listen to Ball's comments:
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