By Matt Hammond, SportsRadio 610By Matt Hammond

Spending $495 on basketball shoes makes you “a BIG BALLER.”

At least that’s the message from LaVar Ball, the father of likely top draft pick Lonzo Ball, who upon the release of his athletic apparel company’s first shoe, the ZO2, dropped this line today on Twitter:

A few things to unpack here.

First, “big ballers” generally don’t spend $495 on basketball shoes. That’s how they stay “big ballers” and keep from being “bankrupt.”

Second, it’s worth noting the unintended consequence of giving basketball shoes this kind of price point. When something carries that kind of value — be it a watch, an iPhone, anything — the person carrying it can become a target. Former NBA player Stephon Marbury has spoken extensively about the issue, famously criticizing Michael Jordan for the cost of his shoes and apparel.

By comparison:

LaVar’s lack of understanding about personal finances and behavioral economics aside, at some point, you start worrying about Lonzo.

Sure, maybe LaVar’s obnoxious media tour, tactless digs at Nike executives and overall abrasiveness won’t have any tangible impact on his son. (Though that’s obviously debatable). But even then, if LaVar is willing to be this reckless with his son’s brand and basketball career, what, are we supposed to expect him to all of a sudden show restraint with his money? And if Lonzo isn’t willing to distance himself from his father despite the obvious risks to his playing and marketing future, would he be able to draw a line at his bank account?

Let’s hope so. Because while LaVar is certainly entitled to be an idiot, you can only cross your fingers that it doesn’t affect his kids.

You know, the real “ballers” in the family.


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