LaVar Ball announced that he’s launching a basketball league for nationally ranked players who have graduated from high school but don’t want to go to college.
He’s calling it the Junior Basketball Association and it’s fully funded by his Big Baller Brand. By joining the league, players who rank the lowest can earn a salary of $3,000 a month while the best ranked player earns $10,000 a month. LaVar is looking for 80 players to fill 10 teams that will play at NBA arenas in Los Angeles, Dallas, Brooklyn, and Atlanta.
“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.”
Ball said the rules of his league will follow those of the NBA instead of college — 12-minute quarters and a pro 3-point line.
Ball said he was partly motivated by the comments made earlier in the month by NCAA president Mark Emmert, who was asked at a SportsBusiness Journal conference whether Ball was good or bad for the college game.
“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 responded, just a few days after Ball’s son LiAngelo left UCLA to turn pro before even playing for the school. “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.”
“He was right,” Ball said. “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. So our guy isn’t going to go to Florida State for a year. He’s going to come to our league.”
Ball said that since Big Baller Brand is promoting the league, players will wear the company’s products, including BBB shoes and a BBB-branded uniform.
Ball admits there’s a lot of work to do to get the league ready. No venues have been rented and ticket prices haven’t been set. He also doesn’t have any players yet — the league won’t include LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, who have signed with Prienai Birstonas Vytautas in Lithuania.
“We don’t need a logo of a guy dribbling,” Ball said, an obvious reference to the NBA’s famous Jerry West silhouette. “Nobody does that anymore.”
This actually isn’t a bad idea — at all.