Why My Hippie-College-Bound Daughter Should Get a $1 Million Dollar Shoe Deal
She’s a Crap Athlete but Probably a Better Bet than $1 Billion for the Basketball-Playing Ball Brothers
This morning, I was perusing my Facebook “fake news” feed and came across the story of the basketball-playing Ball brothers, their certifiably insane father, LaVar, and LaVar’s quest for a $1 billion shoe/co-branding deal for his three sons.
After reading through the stories, I came to the conclusion that if the Ball Bros. can get a $1 billion branding deal, a $1 million branding deal for my artsy, unathletic hippie-college-bound daughter is a) completely reasonable and b) a better bet than $1 billion for the Ball Bros.
I don’t really follow basketball that closely, so this story was new to me. In case you also missed the story, the Ball brothers (Lonzo, Liangelo and LaMelo) are teenage basketball phenoms. Lonzo just finished his freshman year at UCLA and has declared for this year’s NBA draft where is expected to go in the top two picks. The younger brothers have also both committed to UCLA but have yet to play a single college game because they have not yet graduated from high school. In fact, LaMelo is only 15 years old.*
The fact that none of the Ball Bros. have played a single game in the NBA (and two of them have yet to play a college game) has not stopped their father, LaVar, from demanding $1 billion from Nike, Adidas and Under Armour for a collective co-branding partnership for “His Three Sons.” (LaVar and Fred MacMurray of “My Three Sons” fame bear little resemblance to each other. But perhaps theres a bachelor Uncle Charlie in the wings of the Ball family.)
Mind you, the only player in history to have the type of co-branding deal envisioned by LaVar Ball is Michael Jordan. Not LeBron James. Not Steph Curry. Not Magic, Shaq, or Kobe. Just Michael Jordan. And Jordan, who has the most lucrative deal of any current/former basketball player, earns “only” ~$100 million/year from Nike — a mere pittance compared to the deal LaVar Ball is demanding for his sons (including the 15 year old.)
LaVar also wants the “winning” shoe company use a shoe designed by — you guessed it — LaVar. According to reports, LaVar has been working on a shoe design “ever since my boys were born.”
It probably goes without saying that Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are passing on the deal with the Ball Bros. In fact, Nike consultant George Raveling called LaVar Ball “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.” Harsh. Of course, that hasn’t stopped LaVar. He now thinks that even though the big American names have passed, he can strike a billion $ deal with a Chinese shoe brand.
So Why Should My Daughter Get a $1 Million Shoe Deal?
LaVar’s audacious demands got me thinking about my own child who will be starting this fall at a hippie college that is barely capable of fielding athletic teams. It strikes me that if LaVar Ball can get a $1 billion deal for his sons, I should be able to get a $1 million deal for my daughter.
Granted, my daughter is a crap athlete. She will never play in the NBA or the WNBA or the NFL, NHL, PGA, WTA, MLB or any other initials unless someone starts a lucrative professional yoga league. But based on her own college commitment and the fact that I am not “the worst thing to happen to [insert discipline here] in 100 years,” I figure that a $1 million shoe deal for my daughter is a far better bet for a company than the proposed deal with the Ball Bros.
You may be asking how I reached this conclusion. Here’s how:
1) I Did the Math — LaVar Ball wants $1 Billion. I’m only asking for $1 Million. That means that the likelihood that the Ball Bros. will be marketable has to be 1000 times higher than the likelihood that my daughter will be marketable. That’s a tall order given the fact that their father is a complete jackass while I am more like an adorable sloth.
2) Success in High School or College Is Not a Guarantee of Future Performance — Remember Sam Bowie? Yeah, me neither. He was reportedly a standout in high school and college, and in 1984, the Portland Trailblazers passed over players named Jordan, Barkley and Stockton to draft him as the overall #2 pick in the draft. But his NBA career was hampered by injuries and he never lived up to his promise. It’s a story common among athletes. Fortunately for my daughter, her talents are of the sort that are not likely to be affected by age or injury, so her career is likely to be longer and less uncertain than the Ball Bros.
See also, Johnny Manziel, the subject of this tweet from our esteemed commander in chief:
Notably, the President has never tweeted about my daughter — thereby increasing the likelihood of her long term success.
3) I Am Not Batshit Crazy — Sometimes talented young people with batshit crazy parents find that their success is impaired by the batshitiness of their parents. LaVal Ball might learn a few things by seeing the musical, “Gypsy” or reviewing the saga of Todd Marinovich. Except for the fact that I think my daughter should get a $1 million shoe contract, I am only slightly more nuts than the average parent. But I have a lot of ground to cover to get to the batshit level.
4) My Daughter Is Taking Her Talents to the Miami Heat — Kidding. But she is going to a tiny hippie college that has churned out more than its fair share of alumni who are successful creatives — as she hopes to be. (Think JJ Abrams, Vera Wang, Carrie Fisher, Julianna Margulies, Tea Leoni, Sigourney Weaver, Carly Simon, Yoko Ono, Alice Walker, and countless others.) So I’d venture to guess that the likelihood that my daughter will have a successful and marketable career is more than 1/1000th of the likelihood that the Ball Bros. will be the next Michael Jordan. Also, as an artist, her shoe design will likely be at least as good as LaVar’s. Therefore, empirically, my daughter’s $1 million deal looks like a bargain.
So based on this careful analysis, I’m confident that Nike, Adidas, Sketchers, Keds, Birkenstock, or Jimmy Choo will be making a million dollar offer to my daughter any minute now. In the meantime, I’ll be home, waiting for the call, trying not to go batshit while I wait.
*How is it OK for kids that young (and much younger) to be recruited by — much less committed to — a college? That’s batshitcrazy! LeBron James, Jr. had already been approached by college coaches at the age of 10.
Page Barnes is the founder of the new Medium humor publication, The Haven. Find it at Medium.com/the-haven. And submit to The Haven if you dare. If you enjoyed this article, please click the 💚 and share it.