It appears as though the Big Baller Brand tombstone might read “2014-2019.”
The sneaker line is in dire straits after Lonzo Ball severed ties with the family business.
Ball’s move came after a minority owner of Big Baller Brand allegedly swindled about $1.5 million from the Los Angeles Lakers point guard.
But Charles Barkley isn’t pointing the finger at that individual. Instead, he is calling out BBB patriarch LaVar Ball for creating this “disaster” in the first place.
Barkley joined ESPN’s “Get Up!” on Wednesday to talk basketball. When the conversation shifted to Lonzo leaving his father’s brand, Barkley held nothing back.
“(Lonzo) should have been his own man from the beginning, Jalen,” Barkley told co-host Jalen Rose. “You can’t let your family members try to piggyback on your success. This is his time, he’s a nice kid, he’s a good player. I’d like to see him healthy. But this thing has been a disaster from Day 1.
“It was never going to work. And I feel bad, because this ol’ big mouth jackass dad has put his kids in an awkward situation all year. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to the kid, but I don’t like his dad at all, and this thing has been a joke from the beginning.”
Barkley pointed out what he said was the big flaw of the Big Baller approach.
“It’s not going to work because they don’t want to pay anybody,” he said. “They want to make money. They want people to wear their shoes and they make all the money.
“You know, people can say all they want to about Nike, Adidas and Reebok — they actually pay us to wear their shoes. You know, we’ve all became multimillionaires — Nike has paid me millions and millions and millions of dollars a year to wear their shoes. If Nike came to me and said, ‘Hey, we’ll give you shoes and we’re gonna take all the money,’ that doesn’t sound like a good business plan to me.”
While the BBB shoes that Lonzo wore received mixed reviews, the brand itself received a failing grade from the Better Business Bureau.
The bureau reportedly received 184 complaints last year about Big Baller Brand, including that it sent out the wrong merchandise and didn’t respond to customers’ inquiries.
“They still have an F with us,” Blair Looney, president of the Better Business Bureau of Central California and Inland Empire Counties, told ESPN in January. “We are continuing to work with them on straightening things out.”
Barkley has never been a fan of LaVar Ball, whom he once said “represents everything that’s bad about sports.”
Barkley’s quote that Lonzo should have been his own man since the beginning is finally starting to materialize as the eldest Ball son is distancing himself from the Big Baller Brand in more ways than severing ties with the company.
Lonzo had a tattoo to promote the brand that he owned 51 percent of, but he recently got the artwork redone with the “BBB” logo transformed into a pair of dice.
With Big Baller Brand now in his rearview mirror, it appears that Lonzo has his sights set on another apparel company with which to align himself.
He recently posted a photo of himself on Instagram that looks like a Nike ad. The image contains the slogan “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it,” which has been used by Nike in recent commercials.
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