Athletes by Joshua Eferighe March 25, 2019
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.