- LaVar Ball’s Junior Basketball Association is not off to a great start, after numerous athletes turned down his offer to take part in the league’s inaugural season.
- In one embarrassing gaffe, Big Baller Brand spelled a player’s name wrong.
- Ball will have to work on his pitch if he’s going to convince young players to forgo college in favor of taking a risk on the new league.
LaVar Ball’s latest pursuit is not off to a Big Baller start.
After an eventful run in Lithuania that eventually led him to serve as head coach for his sons’ team for a game, Ball has reportedly begun to take his first steps towards his next project – the Junior Basketball Association.
Ball pitched the idea in December, explaining his goal of creating a professional league for talented high school players that would pay up to $10,000, giving young athletes the option of forgoing an abridged stay in college and immediately start playing professionally.
It was a bold idea, and many wondered how Ball believed he could pull it off. On Friday the fledgling idea hit its first big roadblock.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Big Baller Brand reached out to two high school recruits – Jalen Carey and Tyler Herro – inviting them both to play in the inaugural year of the JBA. Both players declined, and remain commits to to Syracuse and Kentucky, respectively.
Even more embarrassing, BBB appears to have also reached out to Boston College commit Jairus Hamilton through Twitter direct message. In the message inviting Hamilton to join the league, his first name was spelled incorrectly.
Big Baller Brand has contacted Boston College Commit Jairus Hamilton about joining their new basketball league, the JBA. Hamilton told me he will NOT consider the offer. pic.twitter.com/eEvK64lP24
— TIPTON EDITS (@TiptonEdits) February 2, 2018
With Ball’s connections to AAU it’s likely that Ball knows enough talented young players to put something together. Not to mention we’ve already seen what his name and branding prowess can do in terms of audience – his Big Baller Brand Challege Games had 100,000 people watching Lithuanian basketball at one point. But so far, the league looks off to a rough start, with at least 18 players now reportedly turning down BBB’s offer.
If the JBA is going to be a successful venture, Ball is going to have to figure out a way to entice players that it’s a better route than becoming an NCAA athlete.