Duke star Zion Williamson’s Nike shoe burst against North Carolina on Wednesday, causing a knee sprain.
Does that make it less likely Williamson will sign a Nike deal once he’s out of college? That poses an interesting question for LaVar Ball, founder of Big Baller Brand and father of LaMelo, whose SPIRE Institute (Geneva, Ohio) team played against Hillcrest Prep North (Phoenix) on Friday.
But Ball isn’t looking for others to sign onto BBB, he said.
“No, I’m not going to pursue nobody,” he said. “Like I said, I worry about my three boys first.”
Even Williamson? The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward whose high school highlights took the basketball world by storm and is the likely No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft?
“My boys are bigger than Zion!” Ball said.
Ball has made similar outlandish claims, saying his eldest son Lonzo Ball was better than Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry before the 2017 NBA draft and then recently asserting he’s better than Los Angeles Lakers teammate LeBron James.
When Ball was first surging to fame prior to that 2017 draft Lonzo was selected in, the patriarch compared his own talents to Michael Jordan, saying he could beat the Chicago Bulls legend one-on-one.
LaMelo, the youngest of the three Ball boys, played with a broken finger Friday. He struggled in the first half after warming up just a minimal amount of time, missing a handful of 3-pointers and struggling to finish his trademark layups in traffic. But his aggressive press defense forced turnovers and helped SPIRE jump to a large lead.
He came alive in the second half, getting the crowd going with his range and draining fade-away three from the corner. Though it took a while to get going, Ball finished with 41 points, the majority of which came in the latter period of the 114-71 win.
“Melo just plays the game,” the Ball father said. “He don’t worry about missing shots, making shots. You gonna win, you gonna have fun. So you gonna get a show. All that, the end of the day, it’s just entertainment, he gonna entertain you. He’s been doing that since he been a baby.”