Drake’s Dad Cosigns LaVar Ball: ‘He’s an Outspoken Guy’

Drake's pops is officially a Big Baller. According to TMZone of music's most famous fathers is a supporter to one of basketball's most famous fathers. Dennis Graham is the latest person to cosign LaVar Ball and the Big Baller Brand. 

 

“I love [LaVar Ball] because he's outspoken,” says Graham. “He's an outspoken guy and that's what you gotta be. You gotta speak your mind.” 

While the fair share of people don't seem to share the same sentiment for the Godfather of Big Ballers, Graham has no problem with the father's headline-grabbing antics. 

“People have been kissing butts for too long. He doesn't do that. He speaks his mind,” Graham told TMZ.

The father of the 6 God definitely isn't lying either. If there's one thing that Ball does, it's speak his mind. In just this past year alone, he has been involved in an feud of sorts with the President, called out the Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton, and professed he could beat Michael Jordan in a game of 1-on-1. In fact, there isn't much that Ball won't say, which is what has made him such a polarizing figure in sports and put the entire Ball family at the forefront of sports conversations for the better part of the past year. 

While Ball has solidified his spot on the unofficial Top 10 list of celebrity fathers, Graham has also done his fair share to occupy a spot with his impeccable suit game and cameos in everything from Drake's music videos to ads for his Virginia Black whiskey (along with a fantastic slogan).

While his haters will remain abundant, a Dennis Graham cosign could do wonders for the LaVar and Big Baller Brand. Better yet, it might even plant the seed for a future Lonzo Ball/Drizzy collabo track or a BBB x Drake sneaker given the rapper's shaky situation with Jordan Brand. One can only hope.

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Listen to Lonzo Ball’s Debut Album ‘Born 2 Ball’

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball dropped his debut mixtape, Born 2 Ball, under the rap moniker Zo on Thursday. He’d been teasing the project for last few months, releasing four songs, including “Get Off,” “BBB,” “Zo2” and the Dragon Ball Z–inspired cut “Super Saiyan.”

The tape’s official artwork is an old family photo of Lonzo as a baby, alongside his father, LaVar Ball. In addition to the four singles, there are an 13 other tracks on the tape, with the last song appropriately titled after his dad.

 

2/15/18 #B2B

A post shared by Lonzo Ball (@zo) on Feb 9, 2018 at 8:05pm PST

As reported by Hip Hop N More, Lonzo’s friend Kenneth Paige helped with a few songs on Born 2 Ball, but the project doesn’t boast any features from big name artists.

In January, Lonzo announced that he’ll be traveling to Lithuania this summer to perform his first-ever rap show. His brothers LaMelo and LiAngelo play in the Lithuanian Basketball League, so it sort of makes sense, though is still pretty odd. ​Lonzo is also reportedly expecting his first child with his girlfriend Denise. She and Lonzo have been dating since they were in high school.

Stream Born 2 Ball below.

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High School Ballers Are Putting LaVar Ball on Blast for Trying to Slide Into DMs to Recruit for Pro League

In late December, LaVar Ball made a stunning announcement. Just weeks after pulling his son LiAngelo out of UCLA and saying he planned on preparing him for the NBA himself, the Ball family patriarch revealed he is going to start his own league called the Junior Basketball Association for those players who don’t want to take part in NCAA basketball.

At the time, Ball said he thought it would be “easy” to convince kids to play in the JBA. The plan was to give all players a salary of somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000 and have them play in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

But it sounds like Ball has run into some trouble recruiting prospects to play in the league. According to high school and college basketball recruiting site Tipton Edits, Ball has used social media DMs to contact about 80 high school players to gauge their interest in playing in the JBA. But all of the top recruits have reportedly turned him down, and two, in particular, have put him on blast for his method of going about recruiting.

Tyler Herro, who hails from Wisconsin and is slated to attend Kentucky next season, is one of the players who was contacted by Ball. He shared a screenshot of the message he received from Big Baller Brand before revealing he declined the offer.

Jalen Carey, a guard from New Jersey who will attend Syracuse next season, was also approached by Ball about joining the JBA. He, too, declined the offer he received and shared a screenshot of it on Snapchat.

In fairness to Ball, trying to contact potential JBA recruits through DMs is probably the most efficient way for him to do it at this time since he’s spent most of the last month in Lithuania with LiAngelo and his youngest son LaMelo. But as SB Nation pointed out, he’s getting a whole bunch of rejections from players right now, so it’s probably time for him to switch up his method. Otherwise, the JBA might disappear just as quickly as it initially popped up.

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Donald Trump’s Tweets Gave LaVar Ball an Estimated $13 Million Advertising Boost

Aside from being marketed as the biggest retail shopping day of the year, November 24 marked the expected ship date of Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball’s $495 ZO2 Prime Remix. 

Ball Family patriarch LaVar Ball recently took to Twitter to send a not so subtle reminder about the launch.

“The only thing better than finishing this chocolate cake is Big Baller Brand has released the ZO2s,” Ball said via a video he posted to Twitter Friday. “They are in flight…tonight.” 

Lonzo Ball, the actual face of Big Baller Brand, is in the midst of an uneven season punctuated by a historic triple-double and cringe-worthy shooting performances, while his father and BBB founder LaVar Ball has squared off with President Trump and any talking head that would grant him airtime.

Trump’s infamous “I should have left them in jail” tweet regarding LiAngelo Ball’s shoplifting incident and what was, to his twisted mind, LaVar’s insufficiently obsequious response, may ultimately prove to be a net positive. The tweet from November 19 might have provided eight figures worth of essentially free advertising for the Ball’s upstart apparel company.

“LaVar Ball’s ongoing feud with President Donald Trump is estimated to have given the company more than $13 million in equivalent advertising value, according to a sponsorship evaluation firm,” ESPN’s Nick DePaula and Darren Rovell noted in a recent ESPN report.

To be clear, this wasn’t exactly a feud. A sitting president sent some petty tweets at American citizens for not showing what he deemed the proper amount of gratitude for an international incident he has yet to prove he helped fix

Much has been made over Ball and his father eschewing major sneaker brands to launch their Big Baller Brand imprint. DePaula and Rovell estimate the family’s reported asking price of $1 billion cost them a $10 million guaranteed deal from at least one of the four major sports apparel companies.

You can read DePaula and Rovell’s full report via ESPN.

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Kobe Bryant Has Words for Big Baller Brand

Besides Michael Jordan, few athletes have been able to match the footwear output and quality that Kobe Bryant was able to achieve during his NBA career. From Adidas to Nike, it's safe to say that he's the second best basketball player in signature shoe history (there, I said it). This past week, Bryant had choice words for another Los Angeles Laker looking to break into the signature shoe game, Lonzo Ball.

During an interview with CNBC, Bryant said about Ball's Big Baller Brand, “It's not good enough to have a shoe and launch a shoe. In that market, in that business, you have to make sure the product is there. That's the only way you can challenge the big guys, is if the innovation and the quality of the product is there.”

It's funny because Lonzo's ZO2 sneakers with BBB are a clear rip off of Bryant's signature sneakers with Nike. With this happening, the guys at Full Size Run (myself included) decided to break down what Kobe's words mean.

Watch the episode above.

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‘NBA 2K’ Fans Praise LaVar Ball for Snagging a Spot in the Latest Version of the Game

Did you think LaVar Ball was finally going to fall back after Michael Jordan roasted him in early August? Or after Kenan Thomspon nailed a hilarious impression of him on SNL: Weekend Update? Or after Ice Cube crushed him in a shooting contest during a Big3 event in Los Angeles? Think again.

Yes, LaVar did take a few Ls throughout the month of August. But he’s more than bounced back since then by notching a few impressive victories. He received a huge compliment from Jay Z, who revealed that he purchased several pairs of the Big Baller Brand sneakers LaVar helped launch for his son Lonzo. He also announced that he was helping release a new BBB sneaker for his 16-year-old son LaMelo. He scored a reality show on Facebook for the entire Ball family. And most recently, he earned what might just be his most impressive W yet.

Even though he never played basketball professionally—and even though his 2.2 points per game scoring average in college has become a punchline for a lot of NBA fans—LaVar managed to snag a spot in the new NBA 2K game that hits stores later this month. And he’s going to be doing more than just tweeting in NBA 2K18 as previously announced.

LaVar will also play a role in the game’s MyCareer mode and will apparently send players crazy text messages as they try to build a name for themselves in the game.

Some NBA 2K players will probably be annoyed by this once they start playing the game. But for now, the majority of them are praising LaVar for finessing his way into the game in the first place.

Say what you want to say about the guy, but it is pretty impressive to see LaVar score a role in a game like NBA 2K when you consider that he wasn’t even on most peoples’ radars just one year ago.

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Lonzo Ball Went Off in Front of LeBron James During a Summer League Game, and NBA Twitter Lost It

Lonzo Ball played his best game of the Las Vegas Summer League on Wednesday night. He went off for 36 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks in the Lakers’ 103-102 win over the 76ers. And he did it while wearing a pair of Nike sneakers as LeBron James looked on from the crowd, which made the night even crazier than it already was for both Lonzo and those NBA fans watching the game from home.

When Lonzo took the court at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for Los Angeles’ game against Philadelphia, the first thing that most people noticed was that he wasn’t wearing his signature Big Baller Brand ZO2 sneakers.

Instead, Lonzo was rocking a pair of Kobe Bryant’s signature Nike sneakers, which sparked quite a reaction among NBA fans on Twitter:

That reaction continued once the game started. As Lonzo picked apart the Sixers’ defense and did a little bit of everything on the court, NBA fans picked apart his affiliation with BBB and commented on how much better he was playing in a pair of Kobes:

There was also a LeBron sighting at the game, and of course, that got a lot of attention, too. Some NBA fans openly wondered why LeBron was at a Lakers’ Summer League game and speculated about how it might be a sign that he’s seriously considering joining the team in free agency next summer:

LeBron downplayed that talk by telling ESPN.com that he’s in Las Vegas right now to work with the players on the Cavaliers’ Summer League team. He also said that he was at the Lakers/76ers game to see former Cavaliers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce, who is now with the Sixers.

But while speaking with ESPN.com in the fourth quarter, he acknowledged that he was impressed with what he saw from Lonzo. “He can really pass it,” LeBron said.

LeBron also acknowledged that he was impressed with what he saw on Lonzo’s feet by putting up this Instagram post after the game:

 

Just. Do. It

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Jul 12, 2017 at 9:44pm PDT

For his part, Lonzo said that he saw LeBron in the crowd. He claimed it didn’t make him play any harder, but he said he hoped LeBron got a glimpse of what he’s able to do on the court. “Saw him at halftime,” Lonzo told ESPN.com. “It’s nice that he came out and got to see the game. Did it inspire me? No. But I hope he saw a good game.”

And Lonzo also explained his choice of sneakers for the game. While everyone else freaked out over him wearing Kobes, he offered up a simple explanation for why he went with Nike sneakers over his usual BBB kicks. “Um, you know, Mamba mentality,” Lonzo said, referencing Kobe. “Thought I’d switch it up.”

He added: “Like I said, you can wear whatever you want when you play with Big Baller Brand…and it is just nice to get out there and do that.”

The Lakers return to action on Thursday night against, oddly enough, LeBron’s Cavaliers. Don’t be surprised if LeBron shows up to see Lonzo again. And after what he was able to do against the Sixers, don’t be surprised if Lonzo wears Kobes again, either.

 

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Lonzo Ball Says 21 Savage’s ‘Issa Album’ Is Better Than Jay Z’s ‘4:44’

Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball has only played in two NBA Summer League games, but he's developed into one of the most polarizing figures in the league today. Following his rocky debut where he scored five points on 2-for-15 shooting from the field with five assists, four rebounds, and three turnovers in 32 minutes, people were quick to hit the panic button. Or, even worse, call him a bust. The very next game, Ball silenced his doubters by racking up a triple-double with 11 points, 11 dimes, and 11 boards. 

After (briefly) settling down all the haters, Ball should have just laid low. Instead, this year's No.2 overall pick created another brushfire by delivering this scalding hot take on Twitter. 

Needless to say, people weren't feeling what he had to say. 

Stay in your lane, Lonzo, and avoid trying to tarnish Hov's name. 

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

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LaVar Ball May Have Cost Lonzo a $20 Million Sneaker Deal

By now, you’ve probably heard that LaVar Ball cost his son Lonzo a sneaker deal after meeting with several large shoe companies like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour in April. He got roasted—and we do mean roasted—on social media for doing it. But do you know just how much LaVar cost Lonzo?

It’s hard to put an exact dollar amount on it, since its all speculation at this point. But on Tuesday, ESPN reporter Darren Rovell appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and revealed that he heard LaVar and Lonzo walked away from a sneaker deal worth at least $10 million over five years from one of the big sneaker companies. And now that it sounds like Lonzo will probably end up being drafted by the Lakers with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, there’s a chance that deal could have ended up being worth twice as much as that. So in essence, LaVar may have cost Lonzo $20 million by botching the negotiations with Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour by insisting that one of the companies license the Ball family’s Big Baller Brand.

If we know LaVar—and at this point, doesn’t it feel like we all know LaVar?—he’s not going to be all that broken up by this report. He was looking for a billion-dollar deal, not a million-dollar deal, when he first started talking with the sneaker companies, so $10 million is basically, like, $10 to him. But Rovell also reported that the Balls are only going to end up making about $200 on every pair of $495 Big Baller Brand sneakers that they sell, which means they’re going to have to sell a lot of pairs if they want to make up the $10 to $20 million they’ve lost.

In other LaVar news, he’s also currently trying to score some free BBB sneakers for his AAU team—the AAU team that got destroyed by more than 50 points the other day—by making a bet with Ice Cube. Cube recently challenged LaVar to try and hit one of the 4-point shots that will be allowed in the new Big 3 league Cube has started. And LaVar responded by challenging him right back and saying that he’ll take part in a shootout with Cube if Cube agrees to buy his whole AAU team BBB sneakers if he loses to LaVar:

Cube doesn’t look like he has too much to worry about.

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Kristine Leahy Has Received Death Threats Following Confrontation With LaVar Ball

Kristine Leahy, the Fox Sports host, got into a kerfuffle with LaVar Ball, darling of the sports media world, Wednesday. Ball appeared on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, the show for which Leahy serves as a co-host, marking yet another appearance for Ball on Fox Sports 1’s programming schedule.

During the show, Ball and Leahy had an incredibly awkward and tense showdown. Leahy asked Ball about the sales for his son’s shoe, the first kicks from Big Baller Brand, and Ball did not take well to it. He appeared to be upset about something Leahy had previously said about BBB and how the brand will not succeed unless it learns how to market to women.

You can watch the standoff below.

Leahy responded to the interview on FS1’s Speak For Yourself Wednesday.

People continue to get really worked up about all things involving LaVar Ball, apparently, because the response Leahy has gotten has been…well, troubling. Leahy said Thursday she has received death threats.

“I think I’m gonna talk more about this later on ‘Speak for Yourself,’ some of the other issues that have come up,” Leahy said. “Now I’m getting death threats, so, I’ll leave it at that.”

On Thursday’s episode of The Herd, Cowherd explained what really went down during the interview and said Ball is “a bully.”

“My issue with what happened is just a complete lack of respect,” Leahy said. “He can disagree with everything I have to say and do it passionately…but have some respect, don’t threaten me, don’t make personal jokes, don’t mock me, and don’t say you’re not going to look me in the eye.”

Leahy also said she hopes Fox Sports 1 and ESPN will stop having Ball on their programs.

“He says a lot of controversial things,” Leahy said. “He’s loud and a big personality, which I’ve been totally fine with. But I hope that yesterday showed who he is and that we stop putting him on all these networks just to get controversial statements out of him.”

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