Potential top-5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, LaMelo Ball has already begun building his brand off the court.
After playing in the NBL, the Australian professional basketball league, Ball began showing flashes of being a top talent in this year’s NBA draft.
Ball played light years ahead of the competition throughout his only season in Australia. The 6’7-point guard’s campaign ended early due to a bruised foot, and he decided to leave the team in January to prepare for the upcoming NBA draft. While in the NBL, he averaged a remarkable stat line of 17 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 6.8 APG and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.
This began the conversation of Ball raising his draft stock to top-5 status.
Ball’s agent commented on his time in Wollongong, Australia:
“Melo loves the Illawarra fans,” Jermaine Jackson said in a recent interview with ESPN. “He loves that community. They opened their arms to him. They made us feel like we are at home. When we started hearing about the issues they were going through, we talked about it and decided, ‘Let's own the team.’”
This, of course, broke the news that Ball and his agent are in the process of buying his former Australian NBL team, the Illawarra Hawks. Early reports said Ball had purchased the team, but the Hawks later said in a statement no sale has been made.
Ball has been in the spotlight since he was a ninth-grader at Chino Hills playing alongside his brother and current New Orleans Pelican, Lonzo Ball. The bright lights have never fazed the confident 18-year-old, and he is already showing his maturity level on all cylinders.
Now declaring for the NBA draft, Ball is poised to have a similar draft stock as his older brother Lonzo did, as he went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2017.
Keeping a positive image with the media and other sports analysts is something Ball has struggled with due to his father, Lavar Ball, virtually always stirring up controversy with irrational comments and hot takes.
Since finishing high school and reaching professional status, Ball has been accompanied by his former coach and NBA player, Jackson, as his agent, who seems determined to change the narrative on him.
Together, the two have formed a bond that appears unbreakable, in which Jackson is ready to take Ball’s game to the next level.
Jermaine speaks highly of Ball in every portion of his life, but recently, it has been his maturity that has taken Jackson by surprise:
“That’s how he was raised by his family,” Jackson said. “People have a perception of his father, but he has a heart of gold and it trickles down to his kids. His father didn’t take him on a traditional route. He started his own sneaker company, Big Baller Brand. We’ve always talked about ownership. Melo wants kids to think big, especially in times like this.”
Now, in beginning talks with shoe companies, buying horses, purchasing his former NBL team and many other investments, we now see Ball beginning to build his own brand and prepare to take the NBA by storm.
Despite the backlash and criticism Ball receives daily, nothing will stop him from becoming an NBA superstar.