Lonzo Ball talks about his dad, his favorite sneakers and meeting Kobe in an exclusive Q&A
Lonzo Ball is projected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, but most of the attention has been focused on his father for the past several weeks, and with good reason. LaVar Ball has brought plenty of publicity to his family for saying sometimes outlandish, but always entertaining things when given a chance to shine under the national media spotlight. It’s led many to wonder how Lonzo feels about all of this, but as it turns out, he isn’t fazed by it in the slightest.
In celebration of Father’s Day, the latest spot from Foot Locker provides a comedic take on Lonzo’s relationship with his dad, while also featuring top draft prospects De’Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac and Jayson Tatum. They play it straight, while Lonzo reminisces about all the seemingly crazy things LaVar has said and done in recent months — including going on national television and explaining how his son is already better than the reigning league MVP.
FOX Sports sat down with Lonzo on the set of the commercial shoot in Los Angeles a few weeks ago to discuss his relationship with his father, how he’s preparing for the NBA, his desire to land with the Lakers, and of course, those Big Baller Brand sneakers.
FOX SPORTS: Is this your first time filming a commercial?
BALL: Yeah —well, kinda. If you want to count the shoe, but I mean, pretty much.
FOX SPORTS: I saw that one, was that a big production?
BALL: It was more low-key, I think. But it was fun.
FOX SPORTS: So, Foot Locker has done a lot of these types of spots in the past, right? They had Carmelo Anthony, sort of poking fun at people that question his legacy — which is obviously ridiculous. Russell Westbrook’s triple-doubles, D’Angelo Russell — there’s been a bunch, they’re all hilarious. Did the fact that they’ve had successful spots like that in the past with big-name athletes, did that make it easier to trust them with a potentially sensitive subject?
BALL: Yeah, for sure. Just because, you know, like you said, in the past they always line stuff up to be good and funny, and everybody likes it. So why not be able to come here if you have the chance?
FOX SPORTS: Your dad’s obviously been doing a lot of media recently, and people have some opinions about that. What’s that whole thing been like from your perspective?
BALL: I kind of just don’t deal with it. I just let him deal with it, and all the people that, you know, have their opinion on what they have on him, and I kind of just focus on what I’m doing. So, I mean, it’s kind of just outside noise to me.
FOX SPORTS: Are you on social media a lot? Do you pay attention to that stuff?
BALL: (laughs) No, not really. No.
FOX SPORTS: I feel like more and more athletes are not on it.
BALL: Yeah, it’s just a lot of drama and stuff you don’t need to be looking at.
FOX SPORTS: What’s something you can tell us about your dad’s personality that we don’t know, or that he doesn’t reveal in those appearances?
BALL: I think y’all pretty much got it all, for sure. Just ‘cause he’s done so many interviews, and y’all see he’s loud, obviously very confident. He’s a great supporter (laughs). But um, yeah he kind of puts it all out there, he doesn’t really leave much behind.
FOX SPORTS: That’s been your whole life, though. So it’s nothing new for you.
BALL: No, it’s the same for me. That’s what I keep telling people.
FOX SPORTS: That’s a positive, right? That he’s so supportive of his kids and his family?
BALL: I think so. I think it definitely helps us, you know, as a whole, and it definitely helps us want to strive and be better.
FOX SPORTS: Alright, so a couple of basketball questions for you. Who were some of your favorite players growing up?
BALL: My favorite player growing up is definitely LeBron. Just because he can get a triple-double every night, and the way he plays. He can shoot the ball every time, but he decides to get his teammates involved. I just like the way he plays.
FOX SPORTS: Every player’s game is unique, but is there a current or even a past NBA player that you can compare your game to?
BALL: I try to be my own player, but a lot of people have compared me to Jason Kidd.
FOX SPORTS: Do you see that?
BALL: I mean, yeah, I’ll take it. He’s a great player, for sure.
FOX SPORTS: Really? You’ll take being compared to Hall of Famers?
BALL: Yeah (laughs).
FOX SPORTS: I watched a bunch of film from your last season at UCLA, it’s clear that you have a lot of skills that will be immediate assets to an NBA team. What’s the one part of your game you think you’ll need to work on the most to be successful at the next level?
BALL: To be honest, I’m just trying to get stronger, because I know that’s a big part of it. You’re not playing kids anymore, you’re playing grown men, and they’re 25, 26. I’m 19. So, definitely got to get in the weight room and pound the weights, just because they’re grown men. That’s probably No. 1.
FOX SPORTS: And then what’s the one thing you think you do really well that’s going to translate to the NBA game right away?
BALL: I think my passing will help a lot. Everybody in the league has skills, obviously, and it’s not hard for me to get people the ball. If you get it to them in the right spot, they’ll definitely — that’s their job, to score and stuff. So I think that’ll definitely help a lot.
FOX SPORTS We’re obviously still a few weeks away from the draft, but what’s the pre-draft process been like for you so far? Has it gotten hectic yet?
BALL: Not really, just mostly been working out, to be honest.
FOX SPORTS: Obviously the Lakers would be a dream scenario for you, but does it matter ultimately where you get drafted?
BALL: You’re in the NBA, so it doesn’t really matter. But if I had a preference, I’d like to stay home, just to be with my family and stuff. But at the end of the day, the NBA’s the NBA. It doesn’t matter who you play for.
FOX SPORTS: The Lakers would be a good fit, though. Not only because you like them and you’re staying home, but it seems like they’re in the right spot. They’re building with young talent, a young coach in Luke Walton, Magic’s on board now — what did you think of Magic taking over as president of basketball operations?
BALL: Magic’s arguably the best point guard ever. I mean, to go there and learn from him — that’d be crazy. That’s a good move for sure.
FOX SPORTS: So tell me about what you’re wearing in the shoot, tell me about this RAISED T-shirt you’ve got on.
BALL: I guess it’s a new brand that’s coming out, it’s going to be exclusively in Foot Locker, so that’s pretty cool, and I kinda like the saying on it — it looks nice to me.
FOX SPORTS: And what about shoes?
BALL: I’ll wear my own shoes, I guess [meaning the ones he brought] — the Jordans.
FOX SPORTS: True Blue 3s. Was it a conscious decision not to wear the ones that you have in the works? The Big Baller Brand?
BALL: No. I can wear whatever I want, so, yeah. Just picked them out of the closet, and got in the car.
FOX SPORTS: Do you have a big sneaker collection?
BALL: Yeah, kinda.
FOX SPORTS: How many pairs?
BALL: Probably about 25-30.
FOX SPORTS: What are some of your favorites?
BALL: Jordan 3s of course, I have three or four pairs of those. I like the 11s, and I like Yeezys, too.
FOX SPORTS: So you can actually get you hands on some Yeezys — unlike someone like me. I’ve got no shot. What’s been the most special moment for you coming out of college and getting ready for this draft process?
BALL: I think when we did the shoe thing. That was a big moment, especially in my life, just because I never imagined doing that, especially out of college. It was a lot of fun, and it was just cool seeing all the feedback from it. That was a good moment.
FOX SPORTS: I think people were surprised how good looking of a shoe it is. I mean, I’m not here to bash any other brands, but a certain reigning MVP’s shoes aren’t that nice to look at. You know what I mean? So I think a lot of people were surprised how good they turned out. Did you get involved in the design process at all?
BALL: Yeah, I designed the shoe. I just kind of wrote it up, and my man D-Mo (Darren Moore, Lonzo’s manager) drew it up, gave it to the people, they brought it back to us, we were happy with it, and now we’ve just got to release it.
FOX SPORTS: Who’s been the most famous person that’s tried to meet you or has met you? Who’s made the effort?
BALL: I don’t know, I don’t want to say people made the effort, I kind of just run into people. But it’s probably Kobe. I just met him a couple months ago. That was pretty cool.
FOX SPORTS: How did that come about?
BALL: I was doing something for ESPN, I was coming out and he was walking in. That’s when I first met him, and he asked me if I had a post game. I could tell he was very competitive.
FOX SPORTS: What’d you say?
BALL: I just said yeah, smiled, and he just started laughing. It was pretty cool meeting him.