LaMelo Ball’s celebrity status has followed him to Ohio.
The high school senior was welcomed to his new team — Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio — with a billboard that was put up Thursday by the social video highlights company Overtime. Ball, the brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo and son of outspoken father LaVar, arrived in town on Friday.
The billboard, which is located on the I-90 interstate just minutes from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, reads “welcome to Ohio, LaMelo” and features an upper body photo of the 6-7 player’s arms spread open — similar to the famous Cleveland billboard that celebrated LeBron James during his two stints with the Cavaliers. Several onlookers posted images of the billboard to social media Friday morning.
LaMelo originally withdrew from Chino Hills (Calif.) High School last year and signed a deal to play professional basketball in Lithuania. On Tuesday he announced his decision to attend Spire Institute for his final high school season. LaMelo was committed to UCLA for the 2019 class before heading to Europe. At Chino Hills before his departure in 2017, he drew headlines for scoring 92 points in a game. He’s also been in the public eye as the result of his family’s reality show, “Ball In the Family.”
Earlier this week, Spire’s head coach, ex-NBA player Jermaine Jackson, said the 17-year-old had the potential to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. LaMelo joins a Spire team that features six other players receiving Division I scholarship offers, according to Jackson.