LaMelo Ball Foregoing NCAA for a More Profitable Path to the NBA Draft

The pressure is on for the NCAA once again! Another high-level NBA Draft prospect is showing that there could be a more prosperous road to the NBA than college basketball. On April 2, 2020, news broke that LaMelo Ball and his manager, Jermaine Jackson, plan to purchase the IIawarra Hawks. The Ilawarra Hawks is the Australian based National Basketball League (NBL) team that Ball played for last season. It became clear that Ball would not be playing college basketball a few years ago.

In 2017, LaMelo Ball signed with an agent and entered a contract to play in the Lithuanian Basketball League. Eventually, Ball returned to the United States to play high school basketball at the Spire Institute in Ohio. However, Ball’s return to US high school basketball did not reinstate his eligibility for college basketball. He lost eligibility when he signed with an agent prior to playing in Lithuanian. As a result, after finishing at the Spire Institute Ball was left three options. Those options were to declare for the NBA Draft, play in the NBA G-League, or returning to playing professional basketball overseas. Ball chose to play professionally overseas.

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LaMelo Ball and Other Highly Sought After Recruits Have Taken Unconventional Routes to the NBA Draft

LaMelo Ball is not the only player who opted to play professionally overseas. R.J. Hampton also opted out of college basketball to play for the NBL’s New Zealand Breakers. Both Ball and Hampton come on the heels of Darius Bazley who ultimately decided not to attend college in 2018. Bazley was the 13th best high school player in the 2018 class. He was slated to play for Syracuse University before he backed out and opted for the NBA G-Leauge. He then decided not to play in the NBA G-League to do an internship with New Balance and prepare for the NBA Draft on his own. Bazley received a guaranteed $1 million for the internship and was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019.

Bazley along with his agent, Rich Paul, charted a new path to the NBA showing upcoming basketball players a new way. It is possible that LaMelo Ball is doing the same thing here. Ball has high draft potential for the 2020 NBA Draft without playing a second of college basketball. He also has the opportunity to have an ownership interest in the professional team he played for. Even if Ball ultimately does not become the owner of the team, he has already given future college basketball prospects something to think about.

Future College Basketball Prospects will Continue to Forge Their own Paths to the NBA Draft

Future college basketball prospects will wonder if they should go play professionally where they could have an opportunity to grow their brand, learn about business, and possibly own a team. They will weigh this against signing their rights to away college basketball for a system that acts like it is brain surgery to create a program where players can profit from their own name, image, and likeness. Either way, the NCAA has once again had to feel the pressure as players are forging other more profitable avenues to the NBA Draft.

LeBron James is Winning Big Despite not Being in the NBA Playoffs

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For the first time since 2005, NBA fans are witnessing an NBA post-season without LeBron James. James started a new NBA chapter with the Los Angeles Lakers last summer. Lakers fans hoped that Lebron James would fill the void left by Kobe Bryant and lift the franchise to its rightful place as an NBA powerhouse. Unfortunately, that has not happened yet. In want many have characterized as a failed season, King James has managed to remain on top with his endeavors off the court. James has always held that he was about more than basketball. He is living up to that showing the world that he is “More Than an Athlete.” James and his business partner Maverick Carter made the Hollywood Reporter’s 50 Agents of Change Empowering Diverse Voices in Hollywood list. LeBron James is winning on so many levels.

The Hollywood Reporter praised James and Carter for their work on the Shut-Up and Dribble three-part docu-series that earned an NAACP Image Award nomination. The Hollywood Reporter also acknowledged James and Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment company for partnering with Octavia Spencer to produce a series about Madame C.J. Walker. With moves like these, King James has managed to remain one of the most talked about NBA players during the post-season despite not making the playoffs. This is due to the fact that King James keeps landing major wins off the court!

First Win- LeBron James’ I Promise School Exceeded Expectations

Last summer, LeBron James opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James opened the school to help at-risk children overcome many of the same obstacles he faced at their age. Last month, it was reported that the school is off to a great start. The students have outpaced seventy percent of other students districtwide and have scored in the 99th growth percentile of the evaluation association’s school norms.

King James has much to be proud of. He deserves to be in headlines for this accomplishment. James even earned accolades from former President Obama.

King James is truly “More Than an Athlete” as he continues to demonstrate that he is about more than just basketball.

Second Win – James’ Investment in Liverpool FC is Paying Dividends

In 2011, James made a $6.5 million investment in Liverpool FC earning him a two percent stake in the club. As the club’s value has contiued to grow so has the value of James’ stake. In 2018, James’ investment was valued at apporximatley $32 million. It was recenty reported that James’ stake as grown to apporixmatley $35 million currently. Wow, what a win while sitting out this NBA post-season!

Third Win – James’ Hit HBO Series “The Shop” is the Platform Black Excellence Has Always Needed

Last summer, LeBron James and Maverick Carter debuted the HBO Series “The Shop.” The Shop is totally ingenious. The show highlights the role of barbershops and beauty salons in black culture. Barbershops and beauty salons are more than a place where African-Americans go to get a cut or a style. They are where African- Americans have traditionally come together to discuss sports, politics, or to simply hang out and play cards or chess. In Ice Cube’s 2002 film “The Barbershop,” Cedric the Entertainer’s character, Eddie, likened the barbershop to a country club for black people.

On The Shop, various athletes, musicians, actors, comedians, and others in the entertainment industry gather in a barbershop. Some get a cut while others sit and engage in stimulating conversation. The show is the perfect forum for black excellence to address political and social issues and to tell their side of stories free from unfounded criticisms.

In the latest episode, Seth Rogen, Pharrell Williams, Lonzo Ball, Don Cheadle, and a few others gathered at the shop. James shared his thoughts on Magic Johnson’s departure from the Lakers. Lonzo Ball discussed his lawsuit against family friend and co-founder of Big Baller Brand, Alan Foster. Foster alledgely stole $1.5 million from Ball. James and Ball were both able to tell their stories free from mainstream media criticism. They were able to give their thoughts and points of view without any spin being put on it. “The Shop” is a major win for sports, entertainment, and black culture.

King James has a lot to Smile About Despite not Making it to the Playoffs

LeBron James is definitely winning off the court. James is experiencing much success with the I Promise School and his ventures in Hollywood. It is no wonder that James is still one of the most talked about NBA players despite not making it to the playoffs.

LaVar Ball to Home School LaMelo Ball: Perfect Parenting

LaVar Ball made headlines again when a report came out that his youngest son LaMelo would no longer be attending Chino Hills High School and instead will be home schooled. LaMelo is a high school junior and the youngest of LaVar’s three sons. This has reignited the debate about LaVar’s parenting. I’m here to tell you, LaVar Ball is making the BEST decision for his son LaMelo by home schooling him. I’m not even sure if LaVar realizes all the reasons his decision is this fantastic, but I got the answers for you:


Fame, popularity, and hype can lead to a loss of focus. Home school offers a potential for a better education, privacy, and teacher(s) dedicated exclusively to him. LaMelo is the most famous high school sophomore athlete of all time. The power of social media adds to his fame. Not even LeBron James received this much press as a 16 year old. So, imagine what school is like for LaMelo… It is very difficult to focus in a learning environment when every move you make, word you write, and things you say are recorded and leaked. We are not too far off from LaMelo’s homework, test, and report cards being leaked to TMZ or blogs. By all accounts, all three of the Ball boys are smart kids and education is a priority. It would be a disservice to his son’s education for LaVar Ball to leave LaMelo in an environment that would hurt his academic progress.

Pro Lifestyle

I’ll throw out a few names for you of pro athletes that were home schooled: Blake Griffin, Maria Sharapova, Tim Tebow, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Carly Patterson etc., etc.
Most elite tennis and golf players are home schooled due to the sheer amount of practice time their sports take. Even in basketball it is common. Most people just don’t realize many of the elite prep schools entire student body is comprised of the basketball team. They use a home school model to build an elite basketball program.
LaMelo is already training with pros on a daily basis. His level of competition is higher on a daily basis that most collegiate athletes. Pros don’t train around a traditional high school bell schedule.


All good parents attempt to protect their children from attacks, and things that can derail their future. LaVar is simply protecting LaMelo’s future by taking him out of High school. Nothing about his life suggests a normal high school experience. He is a potential target by girls, teachers, students, and the school board. This reason to home school him is obvious and pretty self-explanatory. Girls will see an opportunity of a meal ticket and good life by being the girlfriend of LaMelo. Some of these young ladies will be willing to do any and everything to gain his affection. Other guys at school will be jealous of the attention, opportunities, and financial status LaMelo has and plot schemes against him. Some teachers and the school board do like the influence, bravado, and confidence the Ball family has. It is hard for many people to accept the level of success of those who they do not feel “deserve” it. And for the good-hearted teachers and members of the school board, they will try to create a culture of  “fairness”. In an attempt to ensure they are not appearing to favor LaMelo and LaVar, they will inadvertently unfair to them.

LaMelo May Not Be Eligible

Many detractors will site a courtside interview with Ramona Shelburne, where LaVar says disputes with the new coach at Chino Hills contributed to LaMelo’s departure. I would argue that is a classic Donald Trump move.
When Donald Trump wants to get something done that may cause political opposition, he distracts everyone by picking a fight. A recent example of this is Trump’s new tax plan. Trump knew that the political analysts could be too critical of the new tax plan so he picked a fight with the NFL owners and Steph Curry. He knew the national news would be dominated by his fight and give minimal attention to the details of the new tax plan. This is exactly what LaVar is doing, distracting from negative press.
A few weeks ago, we learned that Big Baller Brand would be releasing LaMelo’s first signature shoe. An “amateur” athlete having his own shoe creates high school and college eligibility issues. Smart money says that LaMelo was not going to be allowed to compete in high school unless he parted with Big Baller Brand. There was no way that was going to happen. So LaVar picked a fight with the high school coach to distract from negative press surrounding LaMelo’s eligibility issues.

Preparing for No College 

Currently, LaMelo is committed to following in both his brother’s Lonzo and LiAngelo footsteps and attend UCLA on a basketball scholarship in 2019. I do not believe he will play college basketball. All the writing is on the wall. He is being home schooled, training with pros, and has his own shoe, which could interfere with his college eligibility. We have already seen UCF kicker Donald De La Haye ruled in ineligible by the sweatshop NCAA because he refused to shut his YouTube channel down. So, imagine how hard they would come for a household name like LaMelo Ball. LaVar knows this so he had to come up with a way to circumvent the system.

Master Plan

Remember what LaVar’s goal is: to have all his sons playing in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers. We saw how everything fell into place with Lonzo becoming a Laker, but getting the other two on the Lakers will prove more difficult. So, LaVar had to give himself options.
The NBA has a rule stating that you have to be 1 year removed from your high school graduating class to be draft eligible. Conventional wisdom says this leaves the Ball family with one option. LaMelo would play overseas professionally for one year like NBA player Brandon Jennings and come back for the 2020 draft. I have a different solution, and more likely outcome for LaMelo.
By home schooling LaMelo, his high school graduation year can be more easily controlled. We have seen number basketball players including the #1 playing in the nation, Marvin Bagley reclassify from graduating in 2018 to 2017. So technically, LaMelo could either inter college in 2018, 2019, or 2020 depending on what the family feels is his and LiAngelo’s best option for being in Lakers uniforms is.


Initially I was not a LaVar Ball fan. After I realigned my thinking and really objectively looked at his motivations I came to appreciate him. At the core of everything, he is just like all good men. He is a man who loves his family, and is trying to do everything possible to create a good life for them, and help them achieve their dreams. Some times he comes across as a braggadocios blow-heart, but aren’t all disrupters. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, and Phil Knight were all market disrupters and visionaries. LaVar is no different.