The Ball family stunned the sports world last week by unveiling Lonzo Ball's first signature shoe - the ZO2 - before he is expected to be one of the top selections in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The ZO2 is selling for the steep price of $495 a pair, leading Shaquille O'Neal to call out LaVar Ball for releasing a shoe too expensive for children to purchase. LaVar Ball responded to criticism and explained why his son's shoe costs so much during an appearance on "Undisputed" on Monday.
LaVar Ball: These shoes are symbolic
“I expected this reaction. The fact that people are losing sight - they’re looking at the price tag and not understanding that Lonzo’s shoe is symbolic. That comes with a price tag.
"Symbolic as he’s the first one ever to come in here without even playing a game and have his own brand. It’s not just a shoe you just go in a store or something like that and you say, ‘You know what, let me get the Kyrie, the LeBron…by the way, throw in the ZO2.’
"ZO2s mean something. That’s why the price tag is like that. That’s what the shoe’s worth.
"I bet you not one of those guys that I named sat in the room for the price of the shoe. ‘We just give you the shoe and here you go.’”
LaVar Ball on how he came up with $495:
Skip Bayless: “Did you seek advice to come up $495 or was that your…”
LaVar Ball: “No, I didn’t have to seek no advice, because it’s mine.”
Skip Bayless: “And how did you arrive at $495?”
LaVar Ball: “I think that’s what the shoe is worth.”
Justin FordJustin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
LaVar Ball on whether his son deserves a signature shoe already:
Shannon Sharpe: “The reason why he came up with $495… he’s like, ‘If I come up with a shoe for $100, or $125, ain’t nobody going to be talking about it.' They’re talking about the price, not the shoe. But you got people’s attention. Now that you got their attention, how do you keep it with this shoe? Because, like you said, Lonzo hasn’t played a game.”
LaVar Ball: “He don’t have to play a game. He did more than enough. Look what he did for UCLA. He sold that place out, it ain’t been sold out in 10 years. What you mean he ain’t did enough? They’ve got Gucci and Prada, what have they done? At least my son can play.”
Shannon Sharpe: “But here’s the thing: Michael Jordan could not command $100 for pair of sneakers…”
LaVar Ball: “Because he ain’t Lonzo Ball… I’m going to tell you again, did [Jordan] have his own brand when he came in? New era, called the Ball Era.”
LaVar Ball on why he isn't concerned with making affordable shoes:
Shannon Sharpe: “What’s he going to do to make that shoe symbolic?”
LaVar Ball: “That shoe is symbolic already on the fact that he’s coming in with his own brand. Nobody’s ever done that. So if I sell 50 shoes, who cares? It’s a family thing. It’s for the family, I make them all for Lonzo. Lonzo has his own shoe.
"Just like Shaq was saying, ‘Oh, LaVar, you need to make it for the kids!’ No, that’s your lane, you make it for them. They’ve got two lanes they can come in.
"He makes his shoe, his Shaq Attack. How come his son don’t wear it? It’s a family thing. See, my son will wear my shoe. It’s a family thing. I’m giving him a choice. He can wear any shoe he wants, but why wouldn’t he want to wear something that’s your own?”
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
LaVar Ball on the early success of the ZO2:
Skip Bayless: “Can you give us some idea of how many have been ordered?”
LaVar Ball: “Just look at me and you tell me. This is proof positive right here.”
Shannon Sharpe: “Hold on. The shoes drop on Thursday, and you’ve got a tux on Monday?”
LaVar Ball: “That’s how it’s rolling. You see it.”
LaVar Ball: 'Big Baller Brand is not just about having a lot of money'
Shannon Sharpe: “The comment ‘if you can’t afford $495, you’re not a baller…’”
LaVar Ball: “I didn’t say ‘if you can’t afford $495.’ If you don’t cop the ZO2s, you’re not a baller.
"As I said before, this Big Baller Brand is not just about having a lot of money and paying… you can be a big baller at whatever you do. That’s what I’m saying. Work hard and get it. That’s what I mean by that. Some of these folks think big baller is just sitting there crying.”
LaVar Ball: Lonzo designed the entire shoe
Skip Bayless: “You have generated more publicity with $495 than [Nike or Adidas or Reebok] could ever have hoped for for any launch of their shoes, right? So was that part of the thinking?”
LaVar Ball: “It’s part of the thinking on the fact that it’s my own thinking. I don’t have to go to a board room and say, ‘You know what? What do you think the price should be on this?
"My board room consists of me and my son. ‘Son, if you think the value of your shoe is that… what you think?’ This ain’t the normal shoe. We put a lot into this. But nobody’s going to give the creativity to a 19-year-old kid. He’s wearing the shoe. Everything on that shoe, he designed.”
Richard MacksonRichard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
LaVar Ball on sales numbers:
Skip Bayless: “Give us some idea of how it’s selling.”
LaVar Ball: “Well it’s selling on the fact that it’s a good shoe, it looks good. It’s a family thing.”
Skip Bayless: “But how many orders? Can you give us a vague ballpark?”
LaVar Ball: “I’ll give you a vague ballpark. Give me a number, how about 495?”