lonzo ball introduces shoes

Screengrab via Slamonline/YouTube

These ‘Big Baller’ shoes are the latest sneakers to get blasted on Twitter

The shoes cost half a grand—and Lonzo Ball isn't even in the NBA yet.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on May 5, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 3:22 pm CDT

Whenever an athlete drops a new signature shoe, Twitter is there to savagely critique it. Steph Curry and James Harden both went through it with their footwear, and now Lonzo Ball, the NBA-bound 19-year-old star of UCLA’s basketball team, is feeling it too. But this roast isn’t all about aesthetics—it’s about the fact that Ball’s shoe is coming out through his dad Lavar’s upstart label, Big Baller Brand, and it costs a whopping $495.

Compared to the $125 Under Armour Curry 2 Lows, which were mocked mercilessly but sold out anyway, Ball’s ZO-2 shoe may have a tough road ahead of it.

The premium price tag is an intentional marketing play by the elder Ball, who told Slam he saw it as filling a niche above Nike’s Jordans but below Gucci. That’s ambitious when the player endorsing it has yet to sign with an NBA team.

But Twitter wasn’t having the $500 shoes with the “Delorean finish.” The jokes flew fast and free.


And so did the mean jokes about Lavar’s teeth:


Adding to the problem of the price tag, many think the ZO2’s look like carbon copies of Kobe Bryant’s much cheaper Nike Mambas. “Lavar Ball stealing Kobe shoe!! Smh,” critics roared.

Big Baller Brand even got owned by the biggest baller himself, Shaquille O’Neal, who asked the company not to “overcharge kids for shoes.”

Lonzo’s dad is confident in the price tag, though. He’s even using reverse psychology to goad people into spending half a stack on his product.

Judging by the Twitter backlash, it’s not working.

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*First Published: May 5, 2017, 6:12 pm CDT