What was reported in August is now official: LaMelo Ball has signed a long-term partnership deal with the sneaker and athletic wear brand PUMA.
In addition to PUMA announcing the news, Ball declared the decision on Instagram.
The reverberations of this deal are multi-fold. For one, Ball is venturing out from the Big Baller Brand umbrella that both of his older brothers, Lonzo and Liangelo, initially started under. Lonzo cut ties with and filed a lawsuit against the brand's co-founder, Alan Foster, in March 2019. BBB popped back up with a rebrand centered around Liangelo and LaVar in February 2020.
Now, LaMelo, as he's done in every stage of his young, transient basketball career, is forging out on his own. He joins a burgeoning PUMA lineup comprised of 2018 No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets, four-time WNBA All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith, Marcus Smart, Kyle Kyzma, Demarcus Cousins and more.
“I don’t know what normal is. I personally chose a different path to achieve my success because that defines who I am,” Ball said in a statement. “I know some people think I am mysterious or ‘not from here,’ and I might have to agree. I am someone who likes to be different and consider myself to be one of one. That’s the message I want to share in my upcoming projects with PUMA.”
In keeping with that theme, PUMA said future projects will fall under the "'Not from Here' creative concept" hinted at in Ball's Instagram announcement.
What exactly that, uh, means remains to be seen. A press release said that a T-shirt and hoodie collaboration between Ball and PUMA will drop Nov. 18, the night of the 2020 NBA Draft, where Ball is projected to be a top selection. Possibly No. 1 overall.
One would expect a custom sneaker to follow suit at some point too. PUMA also said it will team up with Ball "to support various giveback programs that will encourage youth to stay active through basketball skill camps, equipment and clothing donations, court refurbishments and more."
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