Lonzo Ball severs ties with Big Baller Brand after being duped out of $1.5m
Big Baller Brand was designed to be more than a footwear company with shoes worn by NBA superstars. But now, the company is in a state of disgrace after co-founder LaVar Ball and his son, Lonzo, severed ties with business partner Alan Foster.
Foster co-founded the company alongside LaVar and helped the outspoken media sensation create a small empire. Big Baller was a vehicle for the Ball family as Lonzo and his brothers, LaMelo and LiAngelo, wore the upstart shoes. Lonzo didn’t just wear the footwear but has a 51% stake in the company, according to USA Today.
The company even sponsored the Junior Basketball Association. However, with Ball family’s relationship with Foster is in tatters; and it looks like all association with the company is no more.
What is the problem?
According to reports from ESPN, Foster has a criminal past. The Ball family was unaware of the conman’s previous criminal offense in which he duped 70 investors out of $4 million. Foster was convicted of “one count of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering” was he was caught and ordered to pay back $3.7m. He was also sentenced to seven years in prison in 2002.
This all occurred before Foster met the Balls; and the Balls were oblivious to it all.
But that isn’t the worst of it. Foster is alleged to have stolen $1.5m of Lonzo’s personal finances. Foster and Lonzo’s father have been friends for over 10 years. His friendship with the family allowed him access to the NBA star’s back account.
The spotlight was shone on Ball’s finances thanks to financial advisor Humble Lukanga, who questioned the player over why such a large sum was missing from his tax information.
Lukanga highlighted the problem in October 2018, but when he tried to get insight on the missing money from Foster, the advisor was met with refusals. LaVar and Foster were the only two with authorization to withdraw funds.
How did Foster meet the Balls?
Foster owned just a 16.3% stake in Big Baller Brand. Yet, he was instrumental in the company’s formation. Foster had met LaVar through his son’s friendship with Lonzo. It was Foster who convinced LaVar to start a brand based around Lonzo rather than signing an exclusive contract with Nike, Adidas, or any other major shoe company.
According to a recent SB Nation article, an email Lukanga wrote to the Balls outlined that Foster wired more than $474,000 to himself through a company called Marathon Consulting.
Moving on to bigger and better things
Not only has the Los Angeles Lakers guard been swift to separate himself from Foster, he has done the same with the Big Baller Brand. Ball has removed any branding from his social media.
It is believed Ball is being courted by Nike thanks to an Instagram post featuring the tagline, “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it” appearing as a photo caption. It is the same tagline as a recent Nike ad campaign. Either Ball is not very creative or he is ready to sign a large contract with Nike.
Ball also posted older images of himself wearing Nike apparel from pre-Big Baller Brand days. Adding fuel to the speculation was Ball’s recent comment that if he didn’t wear Big Baller Brand shoes, he would wear Kobe Bryant’s signature Nike footwear.