A day after LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand unveiled a line of shoes for his son Lonzo, Ball justified the premium price of the shoes without giving specifics as to how many pairs sold on the company website.
Much of social media was up in arms at the price of the main shoe, the ZO2, which retails for $495. When asked Friday about how he came up with the price point, Ball said on on ESPN Radio’s The Dan LeBatard Show that he was the sole decision maker.
“I figure that’s what the shoe is worth,” Ball said. “When you are your own owner you can come up with any price you want.”
Ball also defended the $220 price of the sandals his company is selling with Lonzo’s new logo on them.
“Prada and Gucci is selling theirs for what they want,” Ball said. “Ours is better than that. It feels better.”
Ball says he isn’t, at this point, saying who makes his shoes and what it costs him to make them, nor is he revealing how many pairs of shoes have sold other than saying that sales are “going good” and that all the profits would be going to Lonzo.
After the shoes went up for sale online at around 3:55 p.m. ET on Thursday, Lavar, Lonzo and the Big Baller Brand trended nationally on Twitter. Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson showed proof he bought a pair, while Shaquille O’Neal, who has a signature shoe that sells for less than $60 at Walmart, scolded the Balls for charging so much.
“Everybody ain’t going out to buy no Rolls Royce,” LaVar told LeBatard on Friday. “But they might get them a little car to get them from A to B. Just like Shaq was saying. Bring the shoes down for the kids to buy. How about, ‘You already got that covered, so let them buy your shoe?'”
In an interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne earlier this week, Lonzo Ball said he believed his shoe would sell and that he loved the fact that he was so involved in the making of his sneakers.
“What kid, you know, that’s 19 can make his own shoe the way he wants it?” Lonzo told Shelburne in an interview for ESPN The Magazine. “How he wants it to feel? So it’s a dream come true for me, just because I love shoes, and just the process behind the whole thing is actually really cool.”
The Balls were turned down by the major shoe companies — Nike, Adidas, Under Armour — after LaVar insisted on doing a licensing deal for his Big Baller Brand instead of a standard endorsement deal.
Ball told The Dan LeBatard Show that the people at Under Armour were the most dismissive of his approach.
“When I went to that meeting, they were looking at me crazy at the first take,” Ball said.
As for his critics, who say he should have taken a traditional deal for Lonzo — which he says would have been $2 million a year for five years — he says the goal is to add a couple more zeros.
“All the other people on the outside is saying I’m costing them millions, you g-d dang right I’m costing them millions because it ain’t about millions with us,” Ball said. “It’s about them B’s — billions.”
Said LaVar: “The people that are complaining are the ones who can’t get the shoe and don’t want the shoe and that’s fine because there’s a lot of people out here that want the shoe and can get the shoe.”
The shipping date on the shoes is November 24.