Firm News

Nevah Lost! Branding Advice from LaVar Ball

April 20, 2018

An analysis of Big Baller Brand’s recent headlines

It’s been a minute since we’ve checked in on internationally (in)famous Big Baller Brand (BBB), the shoe and apparel company spearheaded by former NFL Europe punt returner / current NBA & Lietuvos krepšinio lyga Dad, LaVar Ball. Let’s recap, starting with a major holiday announcement:

December 20, 2017 – LaVar announces his own league.

-What’s the deal? – LaVar details plan to start an amateur basketball league, the Junior Basketball Association (JBA), as an alternative for kids who want to forgo college.

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand image? – Couple the possible end days for the One-and-Done rule with the FBI’s ongoing investigation into NCAA recruiting violations and you get a collegiate athletic institution that’s at an arguably all-time low publicity standpoint (aside from recent optics boost of an FBI corruption probe-free squad dominating the 2018 NCAA Men’s Tournament and a thrilling succession of buzzer beaters deciding the 2018 Women’s Final Four). LaVar said he’ll provide a new (paid) option for young athletes, while creating a new ad platform for his brand.

-Summation – This is good for BBB.

January 5, 2018– LaVar Ball sons’ team drops out of professional basketball league for his exhibition games.

-What’s the deal? LaVar convinces Prienu Vytautas, who recently signed LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball, to quit the Baltic Basketball League to schedule the “Big Baller Brand Challenge Games,” a series of friendlies against other Lithuanian squads.

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand image? – Forget that Prienu Vytautas didn’t drop out of Lietuvos krepšinio lyga (the more prestigious of its two) and focus on the fact that LaVar got a sports team to leave a professional league to serve as the background actors in a few ‘LaVar Ball auditions his non-NBA sons for the NBA’ Facebook livestreams. Vytautas saw this as a more promising opportunity than playing in a league that they won two seasons ago. That’s baller influence.

-Summation – This is good for BBB.

January 7, 2018– LaVar says no one on the Los Angeles Lakers wants to play for head coach Luke Walton.

-What’s the deal? “You can see they’re not playing for Luke no more. Luke doesn’t have control of the team no more. They don’t want to play for him. That’s a good team. Nobody wants to play for him. I can see it. No high-fives when they come out of the game. People don’t know why they’re in the game. He’s too young. He ain’t connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he’s not connecting with not one player.”

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand image? – The Lakers, who were on a nine game losing streak at the time of LaVar’s comments, proceeded to go 8-2 over their next 10. Lonzo had to confirm he’ll “play for anyone,” and BBB’s patriarchal mouthpiece received pushback from Walton and other coaches. Mind you, this is shortly after the Lakers enforced the ‘LaVar Ball Rule,’ disallowing media to congregate in the arena section designated for players’ family and associates. The Lakers didn’t want to admit fear of the nightly potential PR disasters that could result from media sitting next to LaVar Ball for 2+ hours, claiming “it’s not a new policy, it’s an existing policy…it’s a privacy concern.” Interesting, as the 29 other NBA franchises don’t fret over this ‘privacy concern.’

-Summation – This is not good for BBB.

January 8, 2018– Big Baller Brand gets an “F” from Better Business Bureau.

-What’s the deal? BBB gets scorched by the BBB, receiving the lowest rating the organization gives out. The Better Business Bureau’s Central California office CEO, Blair Looney, notes they “reached out” to Big Baller Brand to “help resolve these issues on behalf of the customers who have filed the complaints,” but never received a reply.

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand image? – LaVar remains unfazed, explaining to recent Hot Sauce victim, Darren Rovell, “Better Business Bureau is as outdated as the Yellow Pages. Who cares about them? Tell them that Yelp has replaced the Better Business Bureau. We honestly thought the Better Business Bureau was out of business. The new BBB stands for the Big Baller Brand.” Savage clapback! Plus, if ya got an “F,” only way to go is up.

-Summation – This is very good for BBB.

January 8, 2018(cont.)– Big day for Big Baller Brand, as news also drops that they’re being sued by business partner / fellow apparel company.

-What’s the deal? California-based Closet Collection, who screen prints apparel, alleges that BBB owes them approximately $25,000, noting “When it came time to make payments, they kind of bailed.”

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand image? – No one gets hype to do repeat business with client who doesn’t pay the bills on time…or at all.

-Summation – This is not good for BBB.

January 13, 2018– Saturday Night Live parodies LaVar Ball.

-What’s the deal? Best line: “I’m a multi-billionaire. I own 16 Toyota Corollas and I’m the only man in history to out pizza the hut. Never lost!”

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand image? – A sense of humor is good. Humility is good. LaVar didn’t flip out. That’s a W.

-Summation – This is good for BBB.

February 2, 2018 – LaVar Ball slides into high school DMs, fails.

-What’s the deal? Prominent recruits for Kentucky and Syracuse are contacted by LaVar for recruitment in his Junior Basketball Association, decline, and then put the JBA on blast by screenshotting for all of Twitter too see.

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand brand image? – Crisis communication time? If this Tipton Edits estimate is accurate, LaVar has now been left swiped by 80+ teens, who are passing on the JBA for either the traditional college route or paid play via international leagues (hellooo Lietuvos krepšinio lyga) or the NBA G League.

-Summation – This is not good for BBB.

February 9, 2018 – LaVar announces Big Baller Brand Water.

-What’s the deal? –Inspired by his new life on the banks of the Neman, LaVar announces, once again via corporate #branding humanoid microphone Rovell, plans to enter the international bottled water industry.

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand image? Self-branded bottled water tends not go well for famous, megalomaniac dudes.

-Summation – This is not good for BBB.

April 5, 2018– Lonzo Ball and Denise Garcia are having a baby!

-What’s the deal? The eldest Ball son and his high school sweetheart announce they’re expecting their first child, a girl, in July.

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand brand image? – High school sweethearts stay together into adulthood, past the temptations of fame to announce their first child? Beautiful. PR gold. Also, grandpapa Ball will soon have a new generation of kin to mold into the complete athlete he never was.

-Summation – This is good for BBB.

April 14, 2018 – SNL parodies LaVar Ball, again.

-What’s the deal? Best line: “My boy averaged 50 points a game. 100 assists. 500 touchdowns…and he was just certified 100% fresh by Rotten Tomatoes.”

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand brand image? – Keenan’s just shooting fish in a barrel at this point. Humility is indeed valuable, but LaVar is inching closer to life as a frequent Twitter punchline, like his boy Rovell.

-Summation – This is not good for BBB.

April 15, 2018– New Orleans Pelicans’ Jordan Crawford in talks with Big Baller Brand.

-What’s the deal? 29 year old phenom Jordan Crawford was recently seen practicing with tape covering the Nike swooshes on his kicks!

-How does this affect the Big Baller Brand brand image? – Genius. Not only is BBB making headline waves via merely potentially signing its first non-Ball athlete, but LaVar’s courting a guy with fresh legs, as Crawford’s played a grand total of 54 regular season and (so far) seven postseason minutes (where-as minutes-per-game leaders play approx. 36-37 a night). Who cares about Nike and LeBron? Sure Adidas loves James Harden, and Steph Curry has made Under Armour relevant, but again, who cares? Klay Thompson may have an $80 million deal with Chinese footwear giants, Anta, but has he ever dropped 72 points in a Chinese Basketball Association Game? Nope…but guess who has.

-Summation – This is good for BBB.

Ya made it through! Yet, did you notice how we barely touched upon Big Baller Brand’s core products in this round of branding analysis? That’s BBB’s influence. It’s more than an aesthetic. It’s a breathing entity. It’s a father living his dreams through his more talented sons (and soon, granddaughter!). Nothing to see here but success. Sorry, haters!

John Beisner is a Senior Account Executive at Bond Moroch.