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ZO dubbs BBB co-founder Alan Foster and rides out with Nike

Lonzo Ball parted ways with BBB co-founder, Alan Foster, ESPN reported Saturday.

If you know anything about the Ball family and the Big Baller Brand, this is not your everyday run-of-the-mill sports business story — this is the break-up of a family empire.

The split happened because Lonzo was concerned about Foster’s criminal background as well as for the unaccounted whereabouts of roughly $1.5 million from Ball’s personal and business accounts.

In a statement to ESPN Lonzo explains:

“[Foster] used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately.”

Further confirmation came on ZO’s Instagram Saturday, posing a photo of himself in his Nike Lakers jersey with Nike’s campaign slogan, “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it.” He then added that he was moving on to “bigger and better” in the caption and posted the hashtag of “#MyOwnMan.”

According to documents and emails reviewed by ESPN, questions about Foster’s business decisions were first raised by Lonzo’s financial advisor last fall.

The adviser, Humble Lukanga of LifeLine Financial Group, told Lonzo and LaVar in an Oct. email that Lonzo’s personal taxes and Big Baller’s taxes could not be completed on time due to an inability to account for the whereabouts of $1.5 million.

According to ESPN, ZO brought his mistrust of Foster up to LaVar several times over the last year but left it up to his dad to get it straightened out. It wasn’t until last week that LaVar fully reviewed the email warnings and documents from Lukanga, to which he was stunned at what he found.

“I’ve always believed in the best in people. Regretfully, I put my complete trust in Alan Foster to manage my son’s business affairs,” LaVar said to ESPN in a statement.

“At the end of the day, family comes first, and I support Zo wholeheartedly. Together, we will make this right.”

If you remember, back in 2017 when Lonzo was coming out of UCLA as a freshman to the NBA, he and his father reportedly turned down a 10 million dollar shoe deal from Nike to establish their own entity: BBB.

The move was gaudy and bold, but also honorable. It was inspirational seeing a Black man instill principals of hard work, dreaming big and being your own boss.

LaVar once said Lonzo was a better shooter than Stephen Curry and that LeBron couldn’t win without his son, so turning down Nike was in character for him. Which what only makes these new revelations that more devastating.

Foster was a close friend of LaVar for over a decade and was given 16.3 percent of Big Baller Brand, meaning someone was allowed much closer than they should have ever been. And while Zo owns 51 percent of the company, the mistrust puts the young star in a compromising and vulnerable position.

His younger brother LaMelo thanked Lonzo for ‘getting both of them out’ on the IG post, they both unfollowed the Big Baller Brand’s social accounts and ZO deleted all the Big Baller Brand promotional posts from his Instagram.

If one was to speculate what Zo’s next move would be, a safe guess would be any move with Nike.

With business savvy minds at his disposal in Magic and LeBron, gravitating to that type of bag would be a no-brainer for him.

Also, from the zoom shot on the Nike logo in his last IG post to changing his Twitter profile pic to he sporting a Nike shirt as a kid, it seems clear where his head is at.

There’s been no official announcement on the Ball brothers’ status with Big Baller Brand but the next few weeks should be telling as LaMelo is scheduled to play in the March 31 Big Baller Brand All-American Game.


Rookie Road is a platform for sports fans to learn the games they love

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. Some dread this particular season, others usher it in with open arms. Regardless of where you stand, we are in the bittersweet transition from the end of the football season to the start of what we’ve come to know as “March Madness.”

As a football and basketball fan myself, I’ve had the opportunity to experience the culture surrounding sports first-hand. From die-hard fandoms, rivalry matchups, and the screaming that ensues every pivotal play, sports have always been harbingers of unity, able to overcome the societal boundaries placed by race and religion.

However, if you’ve never experienced the sport when you were a kid, either as a fan or a participant, chances are this sports culture I speak so highly of doesn’t register as such. Instead, you’ve probably felt alienated, or even somewhat intimidated by the raw emotion and cult-like-passion sports fans consistently display.

This unwelcoming feeling of being a stranger to the sports community is what ultimately inspired Doug Gursha to start his company “Rookie Road.” During the fall of 2012, Doug stepped onto the University of Michigan campus as a wide-eyed freshman, conscious of the Wolverine pride but unaware of how serious it really was.

As he realized how integral the sports culture was, Gursha decided to teach himself the rules of football.

“I went to the library every day and checked out books on the subject and read the rulebooks. I looked for quality information online but couldn’t find anything. It was through this painful process of learning a new sport that I thought there must be a better way.”

In his attempt to integrate himself into the culture at Michigan, Gursha unconsciously paved the way for the inception of Rookie Road. While his initial objective was to learn more about the game, he soon realized that this opportunity was greater than just learning the rules of football.

This was his chance to provide those who didn’t grow up with the sport, an educational platform that’s as informative, if not more, than a real-life coach.

Since then, Rookie Road has grown tremendously, pushing the space between the sports and education industries to new frontiers. Tonia O’Connor, the former CRO of Univision and a current Rookie Road advisor, strongly believes this company is the next big thing.

“The founders at Rookie Road have identified a white space that is not being served by any other brand. The growth potential at Rookie Road is unlimited given that the priority is the full spectrum of global sports, from youth to professional.”

Rookie Road isn’t stopping at just the major sports either — soccer, basketball, baseball, football, hockey. Michael Gursha, the CEO of Rookie Road, has stated that the company has other sports in the works as well. “We have many sports in the pipeline, everything from cricket, rugby, volleyball, tennis, golf and field hockey. We believe we have a real opportunity to help grow the popularity of all sports through education.”

Rookie Road

Rookie Road’s mission to educate and inspire those who are curious to ultimately enjoy and participate in sports is as pure as it gets. They shoulder the burden of researching and speaking with players, coaches, and officials while creating informative content that is easily comprehensible. It mimics the order in which someone would learn from the ground-up.

However, let it be known that Rookie Road isn’t a tool limited to just educating beginners. The company has arranged its resources in a way where even those who do have prior experience with the sport can learn the more complex and nitty-gritty aspects of the game as well.

If you have some skepticism about the credibility of Rookie Road’s educational materials, former professional athletes and collegiate players have cosigned their approval on the company’s educational tools.

Derrell Smith, a former NFL linebacker and fullback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Houston Texans, shared,

“Rookie Road is working to make sports education easy and accessible, and doing so in a way that any person, no matter their sports literacy, can better understand the game. Their content is simply presented and easily digestible, and encourages learning because the sports and history you’re curious about no longer feels intimidating.”

Gursha and his team at Rookie Road have revolutionized the sports education industry for anyone who is curious about a sport. All of the content you see on Rookie Road is created in-house, from the rules of the game, the explanation of the technical details, and to the graphics to demonstrate certain plays.

Rookie Road

The information you see is specifically designed to be digested and understood as smoothly as possible.

Think “personal coach” meets “professional referee.” That’s what Rookie Road is; a company that’s looking to break barriers in order to share the love and passion that comes with sports to everyone possible.

As a first-generation Korean American, I have directly experienced the difficulty in learning a sport without having had the opportunity to learn as a kid. When a person or an organization’s mission is to share the joy and excitement that we find in sports to others, I cannot help but whole-heartedly support the cause.

So in light of this year’s March Madness tournament, use Rookie Road and surprise some of your friends when you show up to this year’s party a little more knowledgeable than the last; maybe you’ll even put your knowledge to the test and play pick-up at your local gym.

Whatever you choose to do, your decision to engage with any sport on any given level can only be beneficial for you in the long-run.

Do yourself a favor and act on your curiosity; learn what you can about the sport, and don’t be surprised when you hear about Rookie Road literally, changing the game.

The NBA is going to Africa: How this could pave the way for the future

The NBA is going to Africa.

The name of the association will be the Basketball Africa League and it’s expected to include teams from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia.

The NBA along with International Basketball Federation announced its plan Saturday, Feb. 16 to conduct qualification tournaments later this year with the hopes of debuting in 2020.

The move is on par with the ties and relations they’ve built with their annual NBA Africa Games which was started in 2015 to both develop talent and support the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Every year Team Africa, comprised players born in Africa or with direct family ties to the continent, plays against Team World, which featured players drawn from the rest of the world. Now that an official league is coming to the continent the opportunities are endless. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement Saturday,

“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa.”

He continued,

“Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa.”

Former President Barack Obama, who has Kenyan roots, also applauded the announcement.

We’ ve seen the towering 7’1 Manute Bol from South Sudan and the lineage that came forth in Luol Deng.

We’ve had the dominant Dikembe Mutombo from Congolese and the masterful Hakeem Olajuwon from Nigeria who gave way to your Al-Farouq Aminu’s of the world and even the likes of Serge Ibaka, who’s from the Republic of Congo.

Not to mention Evan Fournier from Algeria — there have always been African-born players in the NBA. Still, one could argue that now, more than any time before, Africans are some-what dominating the sport of basketball.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a 6’11” Greek professional basketball player of Nigerian descent who is an early MVP candidate leading his team to an Eastern Conference-best 43-14 record.

Joel Embiid is a once in a generation talent from Cameroon who, at 7’1″, can also handle it and shoot it from deep. His 76ers are also very much in the hunt for a title. If the best player in the league is not African now, it surely will be in the foreseeable future.

The NBA’s expansion into Africa gives the players, coaches, and players; spotlight, platform, and opportunity. The athleticism and willingness are there, but now with developmental resources, the NBA has the opportunity of mining something special to come.

The future of the NBA looks bright and has already surpassed the NFL in popularity. It’s growth to different countries, however, is a move that may separate it from the pack of American sports and potentially put it in a realm with futbol.

Until then, it will be interesting to see what product the BAL will put forth. I guess we’ll have to find out next year.

The future of sports: 6 kids who will be the star athletes of tomorrow

Nowadays kids no longer play sports just for the enjoyment.

Most of them are already looking at it like a business and are working towards one day getting paid for their talents.

Of course the parents play a big role in this, from spending all of their time and money to helping their kids achieve their dreams in hopes that one day they will be the one being taken care of. But just how many parents are about this life?

According to USA Today,

“Nearly 20% of U.S. families spend more than $12,000 a year, or $1,000 per month, on youth sports, per child, according to a TD Ameritrade survey of parents between 30 and 60 years old with $25,000 in investable assets with kids currently playing youth sports or ones that did.”

Youth sports has turned into a completely different animal — wins and losses are taken very seriously by everyone involved as the potential of scholarship offers is really the first big step to achieving their dreams.

From middle school to high school, kids are training their bodies like young professionals and the talent is starting to show.

These are the young athletes are most certainly the most impressive in the age group and stand out for their athletic ability, skill and tenacity in their respective sports.

Jaylen Huff (8-years-old)

Jaylen Huff is only 8-years-old but looks like he has been playing football since his past life. Jaylen trains with his father, Roland Huff Jr, who owns his own gym called the Body Be 1 in Columbus, Georgia.

Their days start early at 5 am when Jaylen’s dad cooks him a specific breakfast where each portion of it is weighed. Jaylen’s father used to be in the military so he and his son Jaylen are constantly operating on a fixed schedule.

Throughout the day, Jaylen does a variety of exercises to help him improve his game from running on a treadmill with a football in his hand to running footwork drills with tires and obstacles.

All the training Jaylen has done has clearly payed off. He found popularity through an Instagram video that this dad filmed of him doing drills.

The clip went viral and Jaylen has since been been featured in many magazines. He has also caught the eye of top universities that are definitely watching to see how he will turn out.

Julian and Jaden Newman (16-years-old and 13-years-old)

Julian Newman, a name that is bound to ring a bell for anyone who knows about high school basketball. He started playing ball at just three and it’s been a wrap ever since.

His father is his trainer and has been training him since 3, having him do drills that include making 200 floaters, 200 jump shots and 100 free throws every day. He went viral for videos he had when he was younger, but now as a high schooler, he’s crushing.

These crazy training regimens have been paying off because he was able to start playing varsity in 5th grade and has been embarrassing kids bigger than him with his handles since then.

Julian Newman got you guessing 😮 @juliannewman4

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He currently holds the title of youngest player to score 1,000 points in high school and has been getting compared to NBA stars like Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry and Isaiah Thomas.

As of right now, Julian is playing his 6th season of varsity basketball and he is only going to get better.

It seems that basketball definitely runs in the Newman family because Julian has a younger sister name Jaden who is just as big of a baller as her older brother. She also started played at young age and was trained by their dad.

She currently hold the record for youngest girl to score 1,000 points in high school too. Jaden has some crazy handles with multiple supporting Instagram YouTube videos of her breaking ankles going viral.

She has so much talent and time will only tell how great she will be.

Tamari Davis (14-years-old)

Tamari Davis is a speed demon on the track field beating anyone she comes in contact with, no matter the age. She currently holds the 200m world record of 23.21 seconds for 14-year-olds.

As a freshman in high school, she’s set very big goals and is planning to tryout for the 2020 Olympics. With the way she’s been performing so far, she is well on track to do just that.

She is trained by Gary Evans, her track coach who maintains the balance of evolving her skills without burning her out to ensure a long, successful career through college and professionally.

Her coach understands that she’s still just a kid who needs to enjoy life, and not everything HAS to be about track, but her competitiveness keeps her grinding.

Titan Lacaden (11-years-old)

Titan Lacaden is an extremely talented 11-year-old football player from Hawaii — so much so that he was already offered a D1 scholarship from the University of Hawaii.

But what position is he? Basically all of them. Listed as a slotback, running back, and strong safety, there’s literally nothing he can’t do on the football field. He’s one of the fastest, hardest-hitting players on the field every time he lines up.

Titan’s dad, Frank Lacden, has been a football coach for 25 years at Saint Louis High School, and is now coaching his son’s pop warner team. He trains them as if they’re already at the next level. He instills the mindset that they need to think and train like champions and it’s clearly working after an undefeated season.

Football Starletes! All eyes on 11-year-old Hawaiian football sensation Titan Lacaden. Titan Lacaden is the youngest recipient of a full Division 1 football scholarship from the University of Hawaii. How is awesome is that? Titan is packed with speed and insane skills. Keep up the phenomenal work Titan! Your future is looking bright! •Starletes is a sports oriented LLC Media Company that provides a platform for undiscovered athletes worldwide to share their career highlights. The Starletes Slogan is “Where Stars and Athletes are discovered” Keep up the amazing work Starletes, and remember success isn’t given it’s earned! #titanlacaden #football #footballstar #footballathlete #athlete #instadaily #starletes #youthathlete #studentathlete #5thgrade #hawaii #universityofhawaii #hawaiitalent #quarterback #speed #talent #skilled

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Clearly his coaching is have an amazing impact on the kids he coaches, especially his son, Titan. He constantly has Titan reviewing film so that he can see his mistakes clearly and correctly so that he can be better for the next game.

Titan is always training to get better and it shows in the film. He is not selfish at all and makes sure to share the ball with his teammates. He sees the team as a huge family where everyone should get their chance to shine.

Titan shines on both ends of the field and already has a winning mentality that will take him as far as he wants to go.

Kyree Walker (16-years-old)

Kyree Walker an absolute monster on the court. He is currently the number one sophomore player in his class and has received a cosign from Harrison Barnes on his game.

He is ridiculously athletic and at at such a young age it’s amazing the things he can do on the court. Kyree started playing basketball at the age of 9 and he has a serious passion for the game.

He has broken many ankles over his short time playing high school basketball and you can tell that he is a force to be reckoned with.

@andrew_canavos @ballislife 🙈

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He has tested his skills against the best players in the country some who are older than him and has proven that he can hold his own and secure the win for his team.

Kyree Walker can do it all from handles, defense, dunking and passing his an all around monster on the court and he is only going to keep on getting better.

He has so much room to improve and we can’t wait to seem him at the collegiate level at Arizona State University where he will definitely be breaking some records before he goes pro.

Bonus: Oh yeah, and we can’t forget about Bunchie Young!

Meet Bunchie Young, the 10-year-old football prospect already getting D1 offers