Lonzo Ball spoke about the “freedom” his shoe deal with his eponymous Big Baller Brand gave him at the Los Angeles Lakers annual Media Day, but the other thing he would (presumably) want is an endorsement deal. Being able to wear any shoes you want is nice, however, sometimes cold, hard cash is better.
Ball may not be getting much of the latter from his shoe deal, at least compared to what other stars earn from their own endorsements. Ball will reportedly earn $445,000 from his signature shoe with Big Baller Brand, which is a lot of money if you’re not a professional basketball player.
But it is a pretty cheap price for a brand to pay to showcase their footwear on the most-hyped member of the team in the NBA’s No. 2 media market. At least when you look at what other top players are being paid.
In order to demonstrate this, Formswift put together a report on exactly how long it would take other NBA stars to earn that much from their respective shoe deals. And the answer in most cases is “not long,” with LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant all making more on their endorsements in a week than Ball makes in a year from Big Baller Brand.
Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant, James Harden and Stephen Curry all make more in under two weeks than Ball is projected to make for a full year. Full graphic courtesy of Formswift:
It was always known that Ball was taking a financial risk by hitching his wagon to his family’s Big Baller Brand. Perhaps with all of the other revenue opportunities Ball will have in Los Angeles (not to mention the $6.3 million he’ll make from the Lakers this season) that he might not actually lose out on that much.
Maybe the “freedom” to wear whatever he wants is worth that type of financial sacrifice. If Ball blows up and becomes the Lakers’ next franchise centerpiece the gamble may be worth it. But the numbers also show that he’s pushing all of his chips to the center of the table in the hopes of upsetting the way the industry has always done business.
Only time will tell if Ball made the right decision, and it’s fascinating to see in visual form just how much of a financial bet he’s making on himself.