Lonzo Ball returned to Las Vegas Summer League action last night, but not in his much-ballyhooed Big Baller Brand ZO2s. No, he was wearing a purple pair of Kobe A.D. sneakers. Yes, they kind of look similar to the BBB ZO2.
Ball’s sneakers have gotten a ton of attention, largely because of his father, and because he’s one of the few basketball players to reject the sneaker companies and create his own shoe line. Also, because they’re almost $500.
Anyway, Ball was in Nikes last night. And what do you know? He had 36 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals in a 103-102 win over the 76ers. The Sixers didn’t have any of their big names on the court (the only first-round pick who played was Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, taken 24th overall last year), but no matter. Ball looked pretty good! He helped the Lakers rally from 15 down in the second half. It was his second straight solid game after an awful debut.
Since it’s his second good outing, we can’t totally blame the ZO2s for his 2-for-15 performance in his first-ever professional game. But why the sneaker change?
“Um, you know, Mamba mentality,” Ball said. “Thought I’d switch it up.”
That’s not a very satisfying answer! But he added that players who sign with Big Baller Brand will be allowed to wear any other brand’s sneakers they want to, which means they won’t need to blur out sneakers in Instagram photos.
So: Yeah, the whole thing was marketing, obviously. It’s like Lonzo Ball is one step ahead of us.