I would imagine that many parents of future or current professional athletes would be extremely proud and excited that their children have made it to the highest of levels in sport.


However, Laker guard Lonzo Ball’s father, Lavar, has taken this to a whole other public level.


First, let’s establish that Lavar Ball is an exemplary father. He has clearly done a great job of grooming his sons into young men who will be successful in the future. Lonzo, his oldest, is a generally quiet, humble and very talented basketball player who was just drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second pick of the 2017 NBA draft. Now, this should be the headline, right? No.


Instead, the headline was about Lavar. Before the draft, Lavar had boldly predicted that his son would be a Laker. This was even before the NBA lottery had happened and the Lakers even had the second pick. When it came to draft night, and the Lakers did go ahead and take Lonzo Ball, the headline became more about Lavar’s correct prediction than Lonzo actually being drafted and being able to live out his dream. And for business sake, this was probably best in the Ball’s eyes.


You see, as soon as Lonzo’s UCLA season, and in effect, his college basketball career, ended, Lavar started to brand Lonzo and his family business, The “Big Baller Brand”.


Even before he has ever stepped onto an NBA floor as a professional athlete, Lavar marketed Lonzo as the future of not only the Los Angeles Lakers but of the NBA as a whole. From this came the release of Lonzo’s first signature shoe through the Big Baller Brand called the “ZO2’s” which were sold at a whopping $595 and actually sold very well.


Although the price was uncommon, the marketing of Lonzo isn’t uncommon for a top prospect entering the NBA. Companies come to you in droves looking to sponsor you and use your likeness to their advantage. However, in this case, Lavar is the one taking advantage because he gets to use his own son as the face of their family brand.


(Bleacher Report)

Lavar’s over the top personality and obvious love and admiration for his son is marketing gold. He is a polarizing figure, but his love, care, and constant presence in Lonzo’s life trumps all of it because it’s really something we’ve never seen done on this public of a level for a professional athlete.


So, if we really think about it, when the Lakers drafted Lonzo, they really drafted Lavar too.


We see it already in the Las Vegas Summer League where Lavar is front and center at all the Lakers’ games so far. Every two minutes that Lonzo is on the floor, the commentators are talking about Lavar, the cameras are focused on Lavar’s reactions to his son’s play and they even have him come on at halftime for an interview.


What this really means is big business for Lavar and the brand, as long as Lonzo backs it up with his play. In reality, Lavar has done his job. He has created the unique buzz for his son to take full advantage of. He has crafted a brand around his son that will only grow bigger as he gets better. He has opened up opportunities for him and his family that most parents don’t, or wouldn’t have the courage to do.


(Washington Post)

Within the face of adversity, Lavar has established a business model to where all Lonzo has to worry about doing is being the best basketball player that he can be because everything else will fall on the shoulders of his father who will either take the blame if Lonzo doesn’t pan out or will get a lot of the praise if he does live up to expectation.


Lavar basically serves as Lonzo’s other half, the part of the professional athlete that has to deal with everything else but playing the game that they love. All of the off the court drama, business, outsiders and media goes to Lavar who will be more than willing to tackle all of that for the sake of his son and his brand. For Lonzo, all he has to do is perform and play ball like he has his entire life.


It will be interested to see how all of this plays out. But we do know that one thing is for sure, no matter what happens, Lavar will be front and center when it does. Whether this ultimately helps, or hurts, Lonzo in the process remains to be seen, but it will be an exciting thing to witness when it does.


Do you think Lavar’s presence will ultimately help or hurt Lonzo’s career? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.