Per Jonathan Givony of ESPN, the highly acclaimed Ball brothers have become the latest to join the sports management division of Jay Z’s Roc Nation. Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo will be represented by Raymond Brothers, who was recently hired as Director of Basketball and Sports Technology/Specialty Projects. Roc Nation Sports represents many NBA players, including Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Danny Green. LaMelo Ball looks to join the ranks ahead of the NBA Draft while Lonzo is already in his third pro season.
Many have pinned LaMelo as the potential #1 overall pick after he spent some time playing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia. He turned down the opportunity to play college basketball, opting for the National Basketball League (NBL) instead. Rumors circulated that LaMelo and his manager Jermaine Jackson purchased the Hawks franchise. However, the NBL released a statement indicating a deal has not been finalized: “The league can confirm LaMelo Ball and his management had discussions about being involved with the club while he was playing in the NBL last season. At this point we are continuing to work with current license holder Simon Stratford on a number of options for what we hope will be a fruitful outcome for Illawarra and the NBL.”
Lonzo Ball, who plays guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, previously signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), but the two parted ways earlier this year in March. This came on the heels of Lonzo severing ties with Alan Foster, co-founder of the sneaker and apparel company, Big Baller Brand, over a missing $1.5 million and concerns about the business manager’s criminal past, ESPN reported. This year, Lonzo was enjoying his best professional season before Commissioner Adam Silver announced league postponement. He was averaging 12 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds per game while starting in 84% of games. Lonzo, pictured below, was the #2 overall pick in 2017 yet may have been picked too late to hold bragging rights over brother LaMelo. LiAngelo is a member of the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue.
Jermaine Jackson made a statement to ESPN regarding the family’s decision to sign with Roc Nation Sports. “This was a family decision. This is now an extended family. They put together a beautiful game plan with Jay-Z. The basketball game is about to change. They are going to create something totally new.”
“We talked to several agents, but the family had good vibes with Roc Nation,” Jackson added. “I’ve known Jay-Z since I played for the Knicks, but this is what the kids wanted to do. Jay-Z is a master at what he does. He’s global. It’s power beyond power.”
According to Givony, Roc Nation will be tasked with negotiating marketing opportunities, including LaMelo Ball’s sneaker contract. Jay-Z was named creative director of Puma Basketball in June 2018, but, according to Jackson, the Balls are speaking to several sneaker companies vying for LaMelo’s endorsement.
This has been a busy month for Roc Nation Sports. Their recent NFL Draft class featured top-10 picks Andrew Thomas and C.J. Henderson, selected by the Giants and Jaguars, respectively. Now, the high-profile Ball family has joined the ranks.