By Ryan Velez
LaVar Ball is determined to keep himself and his brand relevant, and his latest venture is designed to help basketball players who choose to skip college by giving them the opportunity to get paid while they play. Bleacher Report has more on the story.
Per ESPN's Darren Rovell, Ball is funding the Junior Basketball Association through the Big Baller Brand, with players being paid anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 per month. His current plans are to feature 80 players for 10 teams with games potentially being held at NBA arenas located in Los Angeles, Dallas, Brooklyn, and Atlanta.
"Getting these players is going to be easy," Ball told Rovell. "This is giving guys a chance to get a jump-start on their career, to be seen by pro scouts, and we're going to pay them because someone has to pay these kids." The notion of paying college players has been a hot issue for years, considering how much money others make from college teams.
Ball added the league would follow NBA rules with four 12-minute quarters and the professional three-point line located 22 feet in the corners and 23.75 feet behind the top of the key. All players who join would also be required to wear Big Baller Brand merchandise since it will be promoting the league. He credits comments made by NCAA president Mark Emmert at the SportsBusiness Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum earlier this month for inspiring him to start the league.
"Is this a part of someone being part of your university as a student-athlete or is it about using college athletics to prepare yourself to be a pro? If it's the latter, you shouldn't be there in the first place," Emmert said, via sports attorney Jason Belzer.
Ball said Emmert was right because "kids who are one-and-done, they shouldn't be there with the NCAA trying to hold them hostage, not allowing them to keep the jersey they wear while selling replicas of them in stores."
Of course, there are still some major issues to be cleared before we actually see any games, like the fact that there are currently no players or venues. Don’t expect Ball’s two younger sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, to be playing here either, considering that they signed with a Lithuanian team last week.