Big Baller Brand – Ownership Is Empowerment

“Until you own your own you can’t free.
Until you own your own you can’t be me.”

— Jay Z, I Got The Keys

Is financial stability more important than ownership?

It was released through ESPN that the Big 3 shoe companies (Nike, Under Armor & adidas) passed on college standout & NBA prospect Lonzo Ball.
This came after his father LaVar came with a desire for a licensing deal for Ball’s Big Baller Brand.
Complete with his own prototype Ball was looking for an ownership play instead of focusing on a check.

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The sports world is lambasting LaVar again for his outspoken demeanor and seemingly demanding attitude.
Many analysts are calling for his head decrying he’s now costing his own actual millions of dollars and going as far as saying his presence might effect Lonzo’s draft status.

In an era of the “student-athlete” where primarily White universities make billions off Black and Brown bodies of with boosters, College Football Playoffs and March Madness it makes sense players and even parents are taken a more invested look of what they’re worth.

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The hasn’t been a presence like this in sports since Richard Williams.
Father of both Serena and Venus Williams many critics and fans alike dismissed him as a racist and a bully when he called out reporters for framing his young daughters as arrogant or foolish.

“Whatever you put in your child, is what they are. If you put in your child that they are the best, they will believe it. And they will be the best”

— Richard Williams, Serena & Venus Williams’ Father

Similarly Ball wants the best for his sons. His behavior has been uncouth, calling out and mentioning current NBA stars while praising his own.

While this goes on my thoughts go to the way others move in this society.
There are two kinds of people, those who choose financial security and those who take the risk of building their own. This is not to say these qualities can’t be share in one person.
For example, LeBron James signed a lifetime deal with Nike that many estimate is valued at over a billion dollars. But he also started Uninterrupted which gives athletes a way to distribute their thoughts and content.
Similarly Jay Z while re-upping a long term deal for Live Nation he is continuing to build his own streaming platform, TIDAL.

People universally praised Louis C.K. for spurning companies like HBO while choosing direct to consumer. But at the same time Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock both were seen as genius for getting large sums of money for their returns to the stage.

These situations feels like “different strokes for different folks”.
There’s no telling where LaVar and Lonzo Ball go from here but personally I believe an ownership mindset will eventually serve them well.

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