When Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball submitted his best game of the Las Vegas summer league wearing Nike shoes, not Big Baller Brand, speculation about LaVar Ball’s son being better without his father’s signature sneaker experiment went wild. Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, sitting courtside in Vegas, had a front-row seat for Lonzo’s big night, and he went well beyond speculating:
LeBron ripped video from the TV broadcast of Lonzo wearing Kobe Bryant’s signature Nike Kobe AD shoes, not Big Baller’s ZO2 sneakers, and posted it Instagram, complete with the caption: “Just. Do. It.”
For you young folks at home, “Just Do It” isn’t a reference to Shia LaBeouf’s 2015 motivational speech:
It’s an ode to Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan that began in 1988 and coincided with the company’s unprecedented growth over the next decade. LeBron, of course, has an endorsement deal with Nike.
Upon Big Baller’s release this past May, Lonzo’s $495 shoes elicited plenty of shots at the brand from around the NBA, with everyone from Shaquille O’Neal to Warriors coach Mike Brown weighing in on the ridiculousness of a rookie charging hundreds for an untested shoe from an unproven company.
Meanwhile, LeBron James had his own public spat with Lonzo’s blustering father back in March. When LaVar made a rather innocuous comment (for him) about LeBron’s children facing the added pressure of living up to their father’s lofty status, James shot back, “Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth.”
A few days later, LeBron mocked Lonzo’s strange shooting form during a pregame warmup routine:
Is LeBron shading Lonzo Ball or nah? pic.twitter.com/cJgzFjB7m5
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) March 31, 2017
To which Lonzo replied on ESPN, “I have no problem with it. That’s my favorite player growing up.”
Soon afterwards, James insisted he wasn’t throwing shade at the Lakers rookie. “Lonzo can ball,” he told Uninterrupted in April. So, maybe this is all just part of LeBron’s master plan to adopt Ball away from his dad, bring him under his wing as a Nike guy and then join Lonzo on the Lakers next season.
– – – – – – –