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LaVar Ball Launches Own Basketball League for Top High School Players


LaVar Ball is disrupting the sports industry once again with his own basketball league. The Big Baller Brand founder announced Wednesday, Dec. 20 that the Junior Basketball Association is seeking nationally ranked high school ballers who don’t want to go the NCAA route. The association does not pay athletes to play at the college level.

“Getting these players is going to be easy,” Ball told ESPN. “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.”

But Ball, whose sons LiAngelo and LaMelo won’t be in the new league, admitted he does not have any players as of yet. Nor does he have a venue or set ticket prices for games. Yet, he said a remark from NCAA president Mark Emmert inspired him to launch the JBA, which is sponsored by BBB.

“Is this about someone being part of a university and playing basketball or any other sport with that school’s jersey on, representing that institution, or is it about preparing me for my career, my professional career as a ballplayer?” Emmert told SportsBusiness Journal in response to Ball pulling son LiAngelo Ball from UCLA following his suspension for stealing in China. “If it’s the latter, you can do that inside a university and that might be a really good way to go. But if you don’t want to and you don’t think that it’s right for your family, then don’t come.”

Ball acknowledged Emmert was right.

“Those 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,” he told ESPN. “So our guy isn’t going to go to Florida State for a year. He’s going to come to our league.”

The JBA, which has a logo of Ball’s Los Angeles Lakers son dunking (“We don’t need a logo of a guy dribbling,” the outspoken basketball dad said. “Nobody does that anymore)”, will follow NBA rules. It’ll also pay players a range of salary of $3,000 a month to $10,000 a month depending on the players’ skills. The 10 teams, which will be comprised of 80 players in total, will play at NBA arenas in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Dallas.

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Online, folks have been applauding Ball’s disruption of the NCAA, which has been criticized for not paying athletes and prohibiting them from profiting from their likeness, among other things.

Others weren’t on board with the idea (or had no faith in him).

However, most backed up the move and pointed out the fury the heads of the NCAA must be feeling.

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