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Why Adidas and Under Armour Need Lonzo Ball

There is one sneaker free agent as marketable as any star in recent memory, and he hasn’t played in a minute. The most mystifying entity in basketball is indeed the Ball family and in this case, Lonzo Ball. Starting next season, Ball will likely exercise his ability to wear whatever shoe he feels that night. One of the perks of being a ‘Big Baller.’

What benefits the Ball family, does not necessarily benefit the brand he chooses to wear on his feet at any given night. As a matter of fact, Ball’s signature ‘Z02’ will be featured in NBA2k18.

We're excited to announce the @bigballerbrand shoes will debut in #NBA2K18 & be laced up on @ZO2_ at NBA Season Tip-Off! — NBA 2K 2K18 (@NBA2K) August 11, 2017

Even as the second pick in the draft, Ball has filled more seats than any other rookie in this class, and that was just in the summer league.

Lonzo front and center at the NBA Rookie Photoshoot {Via NBA}

He is captivating audiences like no rookie in modern memory has and then you add the most popular franchise. The Lakers are going to find themselves as not only one of the most seen teams but one of the most attractive teams to play for in the coming years. The Lakers have over 30 national TV games on this year’s schedule. Ball will be making his debut Oct. 19th on TNT and that’s telling.

Everyone is expecting a huge show of interest in Ball and the new regime in L.A. With Lebron rumors swirling and Magic Johnson running the show, Lonzo could be average this season but will receive the coverage of multiple time all-star.

{AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File}

Given all this, why won’t a brand put forth the money to sign a 19-year-old superstar? The short answer is Lavar Ball, his father. Outspoken and at times denigrative remarks toward women have made Lavar as infamous as it has made his son famous. Lavar has used…non-traditional negotiation tactics that have scared off the major brands, considering his initial asking price was a billion dollars that’s understandable. Although, Under Armour and Adidas should seriously reconsider. Not for that price but if the two want to gain a step toward the ‘Swoosh’, they need to take a chance on potential.

For Adidas, the situation is more along the lines of preventing Nike from accumulating another superstar. They have managed to expand their brand in recent years with the help of James Harden and Damian Lillard but lack the charismatic star that transcends the sport.

Two months before his debut, Lonzo looks to be a player that could do just that.

In April, for the first time in years, Adidas passed Jordan Brand in the U.S athletic footwear market share. As well as almost doubling its market share over the course of a year. In that same time, Jordan and Nike have seen their market shares fall. The time for Adidas to capitalize on the moment may be right now. They need to solidify their grasp on the NBA culture by locking in Harden, Lillard, and Ball for the future of their brand.

Under Armour, on the other hand, needs to do more than just grow their brand. With superstar Steph Curry leading their brand, they surprisingly lack a clear direction. Trying to appeal multiple markets, Under Armour finds it’s self with no real corner in today’s market and it shows.

The companies growth as stagnated in over the past year while the company reported a sale increase of a paltry 0.3%. There less than sizable returns as of late has led to a serious decline in their stocks. In a year their stock prices have dropped by over 50% and are at their lowest since 2009.

{Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY}

Since offering a deal worth 300 million to Kevin Durant, Under Armour hasn’t done much in the way of acquiring new talent. And while they did sign Ball’s peer in Dennis Smith Jr. there isn’t the same exposure that Ball will receive simply from playing in L.A.

Under Armour has serious issues to worry about and having Curry, Smith, and Ball could help the brand not only find its place in the market but can brand themselves as the future of the sport with Curry and Ball.

But simply signing Ball won’t fix their core issue. Having a lack of identity is UA’s biggest problem and working that out is huge for their future. Signing A$ap Rocky to lead their higher end clothing brand,  and having their CEO Kevin Plank on President Trump’s Manufacturing Council have sent mixed messages that even brought the Criticism of Steph Curry.

But if the Under Armour or Adidas wants to make up ground on Nike and be legitimate competitors they need to make bold moves. Giving Ball a Billion isn’t an option but if he can be signed for a deal similar to those given to Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose or James Harden.


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