LaVar Ball, patriarch of the Ball family and head of sporting goods upstart Big Baller Brand, plans to start his own professional basketball league for college-age players. The league will pay young talent up to $10,000 a month.
There’s been a lot of debate as to whether college athletes ought to be paid in cash for the money their talents bring their institutions. Some say student-athletes deserve a piece of the $10 billion pie, while others say athletic scholarships and a diploma are payment enough.
Ball is a supporter of the former argument, according to ESPN.
“Those kids who are one-and-done, they shouldn’t be there with the NCAA trying to hold them hostage,” Ball said, referring to the rule that basketball players must be at least one year removed from high school before they can be eligible for the NBA’s draft.
This rule has led to many talented basketball players playing college ball for just one year before moving up to the NBA.
Ball also criticized how the NCAA and institutions of higher learning make money off of broadcasts and the sale of jerseys bearing student-athletes’ names, without the student-athletes themselves getting any of that money.
Ball plans to pay any young basketball pla
The lowest ranked player in the new league will be paid $3,000 per month; the best players will be paid $10,000 a month.
Ball has named the league the Junior Basketball Association and plans on creating a roster of 80 players signed to 10 teams that will play on NBA courts in major cities like Brooklyn, Chicago and Los Angeles.
“Getting these players is going to be easy,” Ball said. “This is giving guys a chance to get a jump start on their career, to be seen by pro scouts, and we’re going to pay them because someone has to pay these kids.”
Although Ball has yet to sign any contracts with players or stadium owners, he has designed a logo for the JBA. Black and gold, it features the silhouette of his son, Lonzo Ball (currently a L.A. Lakers player), making a dunk.
“We don’t need a logo of a guy dribbling,” Ball said, thumbing his nose at the NBA’s logo. “Nobody does that anymore.”
As the money for the league will come from profits from Ball’s Big Baller Brand, JBA players will all wear Big Baller shoes and Big Baller-branded jerseys.
Ball and his company have come to the forefront of late following a spat with President Donald Trump. The president has accused the Ball family of not being sufficiently grateful that Trump allegedly arranged for the release of Ball’s second son, LiAngelo, from a Chinese jail.
LiAngelo and two of his former UCLA teammates were put in prison after being caught stealing before an exhibition game their team was set to play in Shanghai.
It has been estimated that the feud, which largely played out on Twitter, brought Big Baller Brand $13 million worth of free advertising.
Since the debacle with the president, Ball has pulled his son out of UCLA; LiAngelo and his little brother, LaMelo have since been signed to a professional basketball team in Europe, Lithuania’s Prienai Birstonas Vytautas.