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LaVar Ball and family land in Lithuania and it’s a circus

Lithuania Ball Brothers Basketball

American basketball players LiAngelo and LaMelo’s father LaVar Ball holds up his arms in greeting before speaking to the media upon their arrival at the international airport in Vilnius, Lithuania, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball in December signed one-year contracts to play for Lithuanian professional basketball club Prienai - Birstonas Vytautas from the small southern Lithuania town of Prienai, some 110 km (68 miles) of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)


This is what every side wanted — attention. Basketball was an afterthought.

LaVar Ball wanted a massive marketing opportunity and good fodder for the family reality series on Facebook — it’s always about branding.

Financially struggling, small-town Vytautas in the Lithuanian League was looking for a way to make more money — they are already selling Ball jerseys — and LiAngelo Ball (age 18) and LaMelo Ball (16) were the ticket.

So when LaVar Ball and sons landed in Lithuania, both sides got exactly what they wanted — a media circus.

Talk to people who have scouted the Balls and know the European game, ask them for an under/over on how long this Lithuanian experiment lasts and you generally get a month or so. Or, they will be there until the marketing buzz wears off. As for the basketball, the Lithuanian League is known for a physical brand of basketball played by men with high hoops IQs — the Ball children may be the most athletic players on their team, but drive the lane and they are going to get knocked down in a way they have never seen before. This is going to be a huge adjustment for LiAngelo and LaMelo, we’ll see how they adapt.