LaVar Ball’s Trump Feud Reportedly Landed Him Millions Worth Of Free Advertising
LaVar Ball may come off as a fool but he may just be a pretty stealthy businessman. His recent interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo got me through the painfully dragging few hours I had to work the Wednesday before the holiday, but now it appears that Ball’s colorful antics may have him laughing all the way to the bank.
Ball is the CEO of sports apparel company, Big Baller Brand, and father to basketball players Lonzo Ball, point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as LiAngelo Ball, currently a freshman guard at UCLA and LaMelo Ball who was recently pulled out of Chino Hills high school so his father could train him personally. LiAngelo Ball was recently arrested with two fellow teammates for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the team’s hotel where they were staying in China. The players were released on bail early the next day, but were forced to stay at a lakeside hotel as the legal process played out and ended up being unable to participate in the season-opening game after their remaining team members flew back to the U.S..
Reports state that although shoplifting is viewed as a very serious crime in the country, the young men were likely facing about 20 days of house arrest. Still, Donald Trump took some time during his state visit to Beijing to have a few words with Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, about releasing the players. When the young men were allowed to return to the states shortly after, it wasn’t clear whether their release was a direct result of Trump’s involvement or whether other factors were at play but of course Trump was quick to take the credit and demand that the Balls as well as America as a whole spend some time praising him for his efforts:
LaVar Ball wasn’t very eager to thank Trump for his involvement. Uproxx reports when he was asked his opinion on his involvement, Ball gave a very “Mariah Carey-esque” response stating:
“Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
Of course Trump couldn’t just let the slight to his ego go and do some Presidential things like address the Keystone pipeline situation, so instead he engaged in a Twitter war with Ball:
In the meantime, Ball addressed the situation in the funniest CNN interview ever (you can watch below) that was filled with all kinds of random ridiculousness. But there may have been a hidden agenda in Ball taking the schlong-swinging contest to the next level. BET reports that the feud is bringing attention to Big Baller Brand with Apex Marketing Group reporting that the Ball family’s Big Baller Brand has received an estimated $13.2 million in free advertising since Trump and LaVar Ball began arguing publicly on November 17. Eric Smallwood, President of Apex told Yahoo! Sports that the feuding has resulted in name recognition among people who aren’t familiar with sports or the Ball family:
“This back and forth with Donald Trump has extended the brand awareness outside of just sports.”
“People who don’t follow sports are starting to get more awareness of the brand. To have that reaction from someone as high up as Trump, it has definitely helped [Ball] reach a larger audience.”
Bob Dorfman, executive director of San Francisco-based Baker Street Advertising says exposure has been key during this whole debacle:
“It’s getting Ball’s face out there to an audience that had either never heard of him or had heard of him but didn’t know a lot about him.”
“If exposure is half the problem, then I think it’s got to help.”
As to whether this boost in advertising will result in actual sales is still up in the air. Big Baller has been criticized in the past for it’s insane prices including a $495 priced pair of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball’s signature sneakers as well as $395 for a pair of younger brother LaMelo Ball’s shoes and a $50 price tag on simple caps and T-shirts.
LaVar Ball concluded his CNN interview by reminding Trump that his outlandish comments will have him laughing all the way to the bank:
“Tell Donald Trump to have a great Thanksgiving, because Big Baller is.”
In the meantime, if you need a good laugh, you can watch the Ball’s CNN appearance below: