TORRANCE, CA – MARCH 14: LaMelo Ball #1 of Chino Hills High School shoots the ball during a game on March 14, 2017 in Torrance, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
On Thursday, Big Baller Brand (BBB) unveiled the brand’s newest basketball shoe.
Except this time, the shoe isn’t for Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball but for his younger brother. No, not UCLA Freshman LiAngelo Ball either. The brand-new basketball shoe by Big Baller Brand is the Melo Ball 1—a shoe designed by, and for, the 16-year-old high school junior, LaMelo Ball.
The Melo Ball 1 is a red and black low-top basketball shoe with a camo fly knit upper. The shoes are currently available for pre-order and priced at $395 for sizes 7-13, and $595 for sizes 14 and 15. According to the BBB website, there are no refunds or exchanges and the shoes will ship by December 23rd, 2017.
With the debut of the MB1 coming just one week after LaMelo turned 16, he is now the youngest athlete ever with a signature shoe.
The high school sensation from Chino Hills is best known for a performance in which he scored 92 points in a single game as a sophomore.
The performance received national attention for both the amount of points he scored and the nature of how he scored many of those points—by cherry picking.
So, when Big Baller Brand announced Melo’s new shoe in a video on social media, they did so with a nod to his 92-point game.
In the video, LaMelo Ball is sitting by the pool in his backyard next to his signature shoes and a basket of cherries.
He simply says, “life is sweet,” picks one of the cherries from the basket, and eats it.
“But sometimes, old people just don’t get it.”
“Give a real shooter a target, and he’ll never stop aiming for it. History is depending on the new generation, to write the next chapter—and that time is now.”
As the video continues, LaMelo is shown hooping in his backyard in the MB1s while a rap song by Lonzo plays in the background.
As with most things BBB on social media, the MB1 announcement video went viral (receiving over 130 thousand views on YouTube).
The debut of the MB1 is the company’s latest attempt to establish itself as a sportswear brand and challenge industry giants Nike, Adidas and Under Armour—and they are banking on the success of a 16-year-old to do it.
However, LaMelo Ball isn’t just any 16-year-old, he’s already a superstar.
A quick look at his social media pages shows that:
Photo via Instagram
Image of LaMelo Ball’s Instagram profile (@melo).
His 207 thousand followers on Twitter are more than UA Basketball’s 74.5 thousand.
These are the same companies that declined LaVar Ball’s co-branding deal with Big Baller Brand.
While Big Baller Brand sales aren’t close to any of these established brands—and have been called into question—the company is arguably becoming more influential.
Big Baller Brand continues to build momentum, and they are doing so by doing business and marketing in an unconventional way. Their way. The ‘Big Baller’ way.
Part of this strategy includes giving a 16-year-old high school basketball player his own signature shoe.
But don’t act surprised, as Lonzo tells it in his rap for the MB1, it is all part of Big Baller’s vision:
“Melo Dip in the Lamb dippin’, got his own shoe cuz it’s only fittin’
Big Baller Brand yeah we do it different, this was all part of Big Baller’s vision
He the youngest to do it, I’m rappin’, he hoopin’, I’m passin’, he shootin’, the game we polluted we reppin’ the movement, we not with the losin’, we ready for war…”