LaVar Ball announced on Wednesday his plans to start the Junior Basketball League (JBL) for nationally ranked players who have graduated from high school but don't want to go to college. He said the league will be fully funded by Big Baller Brand and will pay its players a salary between $3,000 a month for the lower-ranked players and up to $10,000 a month for the top recruits.
The league’s rules are going to be identical to the NBA’s, and Ball is looking for 80 players to split among 10 teams. He hopes to have them play in NBA arenas in Los Angeles, Dallas, Brooklyn, and Atlanta.
That’s about all we know for the JBL project, still in its early stages of inception. And since that’s all we know, we have questions:
Exactly how much money is Big Baller Brand generating?
Three-to-10 grand per month for 80 players is a salary output that could add up to more than $500,000 ... a month. Yes, Lonzo Ball’s shoe, the ZO2’s, range anywhere from $495 to upwards of $1,000 a pair, but those aren’t exactly the hottest shoe on the street. Or so we thought.
Is Big Baller Brand making more money than we think? Or are LaVar’s side hustles — the E! show and his personal training business — paying off?
Who is LaVar going to partner with?
Hats off to Ball for raising three super-talented boys, but raising and training three kids pales in comparison to managing 80, and dealing with parents just as brash as he is. Who can help LaVar — financially, operationally, and everywhere in between — ensure these kids have as good a chance at making the NBA as if they decided to go to college or overseas?
Isn’t this the purpose of the NBA G-League?
The G-League reduced its age minimum to 18 years old, so high school kids can go directly to the NBA’s development league instead of going to college. Why on
flat Earth would high school kids pass up on playing with and learning from trainers and coaches on the professional level? To play for LaVar’s league? We’re not so sure.
Are the games going to be televised?
This is important. Basketball creates hype, and with so many new media outlets, the JBL might not even need to be televised in a traditional manner. It can probably — and likely will be — live streamed online in its initial years.
But if the Junior Basketball League does legitimately attract the top high school talents across the country all to one place, TV companies will start calling. And when they do, this question shifts to which one will he choose?
Will LaVar Ball be the commissioner?
Nothing would tear the public in half more than seeing one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports have a tangible impact on the rest of a young player’s career. He could potentially have that chance. And if he’s commissioner, there’s no telling what he’ll say when he gets to the podium.
And we have so many more
- Well, who’s gonna insure a league full of teen ballers?
- Are the players going to be head-to-toe in BBB merch?
- Will BBB/JBL begin actively recruiting players?
- Will the kids get benefits?
The Junior Basketball League is only in its idea stage now, and according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Ball knows there’s still a lot of work ahead if it’s going to be successful. If this league turns out to be more than a gimmick, answers to these questions will reveal themselves in the not-so-distant future. But we never know if LaVar Ball is for real, until it turns out he’s 100 percent serious.
And if this next business venture gets off the ground like his last one did, the basketball landscape could be in for a shakeup.