LaVar Ball: Marketing Maverick or Monster?

The most talked about man in the NBA doesn’t even touch the court.

Instead, he sits in the stands like everyone else while his son, Lonzo, begins his journey as the latest addition of the Los Angeles Lakers.

While he may not be making plays on the court like his son, LaVar Ball has the sports world in a frenzy – something that he has done consistently for almost over a year.

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(Photo: Richard Mackson, USA TODAY Sports)

 

LaVar is a story of a man who foresaw his son’s upcoming popularity as a star rookie in the NBA, and has quite literally ‘played’ the media as a result.

In an era where the POTUS tweets video memes of himself on WWE beating up CNN, it seems relatively normal for a father of a talented basketball star to smash and bash his way through the sports media landscape.

 

Whether it is upping the previous $1 billion dollar co-branding deal with other big name sportswear companies to $3 billion, stating his massively overpriced shoes are merely ‘stitching and glue’,  or claiming his son has already won rookie of the year after his first NBA game – LaVar is a media magnet.

Hate it or love it, it yields results.

That’s what makes LaVar so indescribable. One one hand, the media can’t help but laugh at him, but on the other he has no problem snatching up headlines.

So is LaVar a marketing maverick or monster? It depends on what you judge him on.

Whenever asked the question of Lonzo’s team destination, LaVar guaranteed the media it was the Lakers – and he was right.

His Big Baller Brand debuted their shoes, the Z02’s, but they aren’t doing well (unsurprisingly) given the high price tags. However, famous rapper The Game created a social media storm for buying a few pairs – while throwing some shade at Michael Jordan. Again, was that a total loss, or did LaVar break even given the free publicity?

I won’t lie – I was going to make a blog post about how LaVar was an example of failed marketing, something that was going to be part of my Rogue Marketing Series (where Conor McGregor shines as an example of being a marketing trailblazer).

I’ve come to the realization, however, that despite some minor missteps – LaVar is a marketing genius.

What is boils down to is this:

On one end, LaVar doesn’t capitalize on Lonzo’s success, he’s just a father of a basketball star – that’s it.

On the other – he storms into the sports media world like a bat out of hell, builds a company, lifts his son’s profile and stardom, and even get’s a reality T.V. show deal.

And if you needed further convincing, here he is at WWE RAW.

 

That to me is a win.

 

 

Think I forgot some important lessons? Feel free to let me know what I missed out on by commenting on this post!

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