LeBron James skipped out on the ESPY’s Awards Wednesday night, instead flying to Las Vegas to watch Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball in the NBA Summer League.
The King was treated to a show as Lonzo had his best game in a Lakers uniform to date, recording 36 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds.
Big night for Lonzo Ball! 🔥
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 13, 2017
Maybe LeBron, who will be a free agent at the end of this season, wanted to get a close look at Lonzo in case he decides to head to the City of Angels next summer.
LeBron tweeted and posted a video on Instagram of Lonzo wearing Nike Kobe A.D.’s with the caption “Just.Do.It.”
This was the first game of the summer that Lonzo sported anything besides his signature Big Baller Brand Zo2 sneaker and the results didn’t lie.
Following the game Lonzo told SportsCenter:
“At BBB, you can play in what you want. I already played in both of my shoes, might as well get the ‘Mamba Mentality’ going. Put ’em on, and it worked out tonight.”
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons made an interesting point about the BBB sneakers on his podcast earlier this week.
He pointed to the litany of injuries Grant Hill sustained which hindered his career and attributed it in part to the sneakers he was wearing during games.
In 2001 after Hill sustained another severe ankle injury, Charles Barkley said,
“When you’re wearing cheap shoes, and you don’t wear Nike, it’s going to happen. They gave him all that money to wear those cheap FILAs.”
It will be interesting to see if Lonzo goes back to wearing the BBB sneakers during the season or if Lakers executives step in and demand he wears Nike or Adidas, two brands that customize sneakers for an athlete’s foot. But as of now, there are no negotiations with Nike, according to Lonzo’s father, LaVar.
“Lonzo is not forced to wear any brand and can play in any shoe he wants as long as it’s OK with the NBA,” LaVar Ball told ESPN Thursday morning. “This is what being independent is all about.”
Lakers coach Luke Walton and GM Magic Johnson might need to sit down with the Ball family and explain the ramifications of wearing poorly made sneakers.
It isn’t worth the risk.