High schooler LaMelo Ball gets signature shoe
LOS ANGELES (AP) Two of LaVar Ball’s sons now have their own signature shoe. The latest one has led to plenty of questions.
Big Baller Brand shoes announced Thursday that it is coming out with a shoe for LaMelo Ball, who is a junior in high school. It is the first signature shoe for a player still in high school.
The MB1, which costs $395, is available for pre-order and will ship in December. In May, Big Baller introduced its first signature shoe for Lonzo Ball, the former UCLA star was drafted second overall by the Lakers. Those go for $495.
LaMelo Ball, who plays for Chino Hills High School, would still be eligible under California Interscholastic Federation rules as long as he’s not wearing his team’s uniform or logo while appearing in any advertisements or promotions for the shoe.
The bigger concern is with the NCAA. LaMelo Ball has committed to UCLA, where he would start playing in 2019.
NCAA spokeswoman Emily James said in an email to The Associated Press that she could not speak specifically about LaMelo Ball but that his eligibility could be at risk if he directly profits from shoe sales.
”Generally speaking, a college athlete or prospect paid for use of their athletics reputation or ability risks their future eligibility in that sport,” James said. ”This includes profiting from the sale of items bearing the young person’s name. NCAA rules, however, do allow prospects to promote commercial products prior to enrollment provided it is not for pay.”
LaVar Ball told ESPN on Thursday that his son’s amateur status is not a concern at the moment.
”Who cares? If he can’t play, then he can’t play. It doesn’t mean he’ll stop working out and getting better,” he said. ”Maybe in two years they’ll change the rule and he’ll be able to the NBA straight out of high school.”
LaMelo Ball, a 6-foot-3 guard, averaged 26.7 points and 10 assists as a sophomore last year.