Whenever it seems like we may be done with the Ball family and their basketball exploits, something comes along to remind us that LaVar Ball and his sons will take whatever media exposure they can get. But hey, get what you can while you can, right?
Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy reports that LaMelo Ball and his representatives are pitching a sports documentary series following the prospect’s preparations for the 2020 NBA Draft to sports TV networks and media platforms. The series is intended to be similar to HBO’s “24/7” line of docuseries that follows an athlete or team in the weeks leading up to an event, such as Floyd Mayweather training for a boxing match or the experience of NHL teams going into a Winter Classic matchup.
Any outlet interested in carrying Ball’s docuseries will have to pay a hefty sum, however. Reportedly, Ball’s team is seeking $2 million for the rights to the series. McCarthy quoted one potential suitor who said his company would pass on that kind of price tag.
Ball, 18, is expected to be one of the top selections in June’s NBA Draft. Sporting News’ mock draft, for instance, has him listed as the No. 2 overall pick. Bleacher Report puts Ball in the No. 3 slot, as do Yahoo Sports, Tankathon, and NBADraft.net. Rookie Wire pegs him as the No. 1 prospect available. Such high projections would presumably stoke interest in a docuseries chronicling Ball’s preparations for the draft.
Ball hasn’t played college basketball and being more of an unknown quantity could spur curiosity in watching his series. He spent what would’ve been his junior year in high school with BC Prenani in the Lithuanian Basketball League. During his senior year, he played in the short-lived Junior Basketball League (created by his father, LaVar) and on an Ohio prep school team.
For the past four months, Ball played for Illawarra in Australia’s National Basketball League, averaging 17 points, seven assists, eight rebounds, and two steals over 12 games. He left the NBL in late January to begin preparing for the NBA Draft.
At 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds, Ball has the size and frame that appeal to NBA teams. Though his outside shooting needs improvement, his passing skills and ability with the pick-and-roll are viewed as good fits with current NBA style of play. His height also makes him a good defensive matchup for most guards and forwards in the league.
Ball’s representatives are also touting the prospect’s social media following as a selling point for a series’ potential popularity. He has 5.2 million followers on Instagram, 630,000 on Facebook and 588,300 on Twitter, according to internet analytics company Conviva.
Of course, one big question that comes with Lamelo Ball is how much his father, LaVar Ball, might be involved in such a venture.
LaVar has previously taken a very active role in the development and promotion of his basketball-playing sons, notably with the launch of his Big Baller Brand apparel company and the Facebook Live series, Ball in the Family. His ambitions appear to have strained the relationship with older son Lonzo, however, who is now playing further outside LaVar’s radius in New Orleans and thriving. LiAngelo currently plays for the NBA G League’s Oklahoma City Blue.
The potential involvement of LaVar Ball could either help or hurt the appeal of a sports docuseries, depending on the view of producers and executives. Some media outlets could prefer a more serious-minded series, while LaVar might lean such a venture more toward reality TV. Yet that angle could also help reach a wider audience less interested in sports.