I used to hate LaVar, but then I saw the light. The man is a genius. He is an incredible marketer, has good business sense, and clearly knows how to get people to talk about him. All three of those things will make a huge impact on his newest business venture, the JBA, or Junior Basketball Association. And, of course he used Lonzo as his logo.
For those of you who haven’t seen, the Big Baller is starting up a basketball league to compete with the NCAA. This comes after withdrawing his middle-child, LiAngelo, from UCLA, his youngest son, LaMelo, from high school, and shipping them over-seas to play professionally in Lithuania. The key part of the JBA, and where the draw would be for potential players, is that these players will get paid.
The league is an alternative to using your year post-high school in the NCAA playing for free, and it will pay players up to $10,000 per month. The thing is, it just might work. The biggest qualm people have with collegiate athletics is that they don’t pay the players. The players make their schools millions of dollars, and they don’t see a dime of it. Sure, there’s the argument that they get “paid” in scholarship money, which pays for school, housing, and some food, but does that really count? These players are not only working day and night for their schools, but they are also risking injury, which could result is a major loss of future income, to play in college since the NBA doesn’t allow players to forego college and head straight for the draft.
If this works, I feel like you will start to see a large portion of the “one and done” players head to the JBA instead of college for a year. They can make some money, still get exposure, and don’t have all of these NCAA rules and regulations to follow to stay out of trouble with the big and bad NCAA. Once it gets established, I don’t see why any top recruit would play for free at the college level.
The plan, as laid out by LaVar, is to officially start the league up in July of 2018. The season will run about 8 months, and get the players ready for the draft. Currently, all funding appears to be coming directly from the Big Baller Brand, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see sponsors flooding in to get in on this start-up. It also provides an opening for larger shoe/apparel brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor to come in and sign these young potential-stars to endorsement contracts a year early. Honestly, this league is a win for pretty much everyone except the NCAA. I know I’ll be tuning in.
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