LaMelo Ball signs shoe deal with Puma, not dad’s company

Breaking from the family business, NBA draft prospect LaMelo Ball signed a shoe deal with Puma on Wednesday.

Puma plans to make the 19-year-old one of its primary basketball endorsers, as Ball is expected to be among the first players chosen in the Nov. 18 NBA draft.

Ball had received his own signature “MB1” shoe from Big Baller Brand, run by his father LaVar, when he was 16.

“I am really excited to be joining the Puma family,” Ball said in a statement, according to ESPN. “I believe the brand is the perfect partner for me because Puma will allow me to just be myself. I want to be 100 percent authentic, whether that’s playing basketball or showing off my personal style, and that’s what I want to do with Puma.”

LaMelo Ball played professionally in Lithuania and New Zealand the past two years before becoming eligible for the NBA draft.

Puma had been out of the basketball shoe market for two decades before returning in 2018. Other Puma endorsers include Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. and New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett.

LaMelo Ball’s brother, 22-year old Lonzo, is a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans. Lonzo Ball doesn’t have a current shoe endorsement contract, according to USA Today.

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