Be Like Lonzo!
Why Lakers’ rookie Lonzo Ball is already an NBA rock star and why hip young ballers everywhere want to be like him
He hasn’t played a minute in an NBA game yet Lakers’ rookie Lonzo Ball is already the face of the franchise and a rock star with his own sneaker brand, rap label, website, reality TV show, and millions of fans on social media.
He’s what every hip young baller today wants to be like.
He’s a trend setter, brand maker, dream builder, rebel rapper, and big baller. He’s a multi-racial, multi-talented multimedia star born, bred, and trained from birth to play point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s the kid who won the lottery, finished first on The Voice, founded a new tech company, signed a new recording contract. He’s living proof your wildest dreams can come true if you believe in yourself and work hard to make them happen.
A millennial version of a Renaissance Man at 19-years old, Lonzo is living the dream as the point guard of the future for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, a dream his brash media-smart father LaVar literally “spoke into existence” as step one in his grand plan for all three of his three sons to play for the Lakers. Basketball may be his first life love but Lonzo has made it clear it’s not going to be the only thing that defines him. He has a bigger vision for his brand.
A high school prodigy who led an undefeated Chino Hills team to a national championship and 1-and-done college phenom who transformed the UCLA Bruins into an offensive juggernaut that made the Sweet 16, Lonzo is the perfect superstar for a new generation of Lakers fans who never saw Magic on the break or Kobe in his prime, talk sports on Facebook and Twitter, share videos on Vine and Snapchat, and watch games on their smartphones.
Lonzomania peaked this summer when Lonzo Ball made his first appearance in a Lakers uniform and took the Las Vegas Summer League by storm, leading the Lakers to the summer league championship and winning summer league MVP while breaking the assist record and posting the first triple-doubles in summer league history. The packed, sold-out arena and standing ovations for the Lakers’ players made it almost feel like we were watching the playoffs.
In a genius marketing move that had the press and social media buzzing all summer league, Lonzo wore his signature ZO2 Prime sneakers for the first game and then switched to sneakers from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour for the remaining games “to show the major brands what they’re missing.” LaVar Ball wants a co-branding agreement for the Big Baller Brand as part of any deal with a major shoe company for Lonzo to endorse their brand.
By turning down the major brands’ attempts to sign Lonzo to a shoe deal, LaVar has positioned Big Baller Brand as a rebel fighting to show there’s another way to for young hoop stars to build their own brands. Lonzo’s new signature sneaker has already received endorsements from major celebrities like Jay-Z, who support the Balls’ efforts to defy the norm and create their own athletic apparel startup business fueled by Lonzo’s basketball career.
Big Baller Brand has also given Lonzo new ways to communicate with his fans and expand his brand. He’s already dropped two rap tracks promoting the new revised version of his signature sneaker, now dubbed the ZO2 Prime Remix and touted as the lightest basketball shoe on the market. He also plans to wear the new kicks when he takes the court for the Lakers’ first preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center tonight.
Taking a cue from the Kardashians, LaVar Ball and his family now also have their own reality TV series on Facebook, fittingly called Ball in the Family, with LaVar Ball playing the role of Archie Bunker in a culturally updated rendition of the popular 70’s family TV sitcom All in the Family. We’ve already been introduced to Lonzo’s brothers Gelo and Melo, his mother Tina who is recovering from a stroke, and an assortment of friends and relatives.
Unsurprisingly, Lonzo seems oblivious to all the hype and hoopla, unaffected by the fame and fortune, and unperturbed by grand expectations of his father and the Lakers’ nation. Dropping a couple of rap tracks, being videoed for the family’s reality TV show, or greeting fans at a Big Baller Brand pop-up store. Nothing phases Lonzo or distract him from a goal of winning a championship. He has the whole world in his hand and all he wants to do is play basketball.
Much like Aaron Judge has become the new face of major league baseball, Lonzo Ball is destined to become the new face of professional basketball. The NBA is quickly becoming the sport of choice for the younger generation with an average fan age a decade younger than baseball or football. The kids who wanted to be like Mike or Kobe have come and gone and the kids who wanted to be like Steph will soon give way to the kids who want to be like Lonzo.