LaVar Ball Is An Obnoxious Marketing Genius

Unless you follow the National Basketball Association, you’ve probably never heard of LaVar Ball.

Here’s a quick primer: LaVar Ball is the father of Los Angeles Lakers’ rookie, Lonzo Ball, the second pick in this past June’s NBA draft.

Ball is also the head of Big Baller Brand, athletic apparel inspired by his three sons: Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo.

LaMelo is still in high school, while LiAngelo has followed his big bro’s footsteps and will play for UCLA this year.

Lonzo is a rookie making his way in the NBA.

Ever since Lonzo burst on the scene at UCLA, his dad has been hyping him as the next big thing. And that was before anyone saw him play a Division 1 basketball game.

Throughout Lonzo’s short college career, LaVar said to anybody willing to pay attention that his son was going to turn the pro game on its head, even going so far as to say his son would be better than Michael Jordan.

And, thanks to his outlandish claims and desire to hog the spotlight, a lot of us were forced to listen to him. (Thanks ESPN for giving him TV time!)

As he continues to praise his son and rep his Big Baller Brand, I’m reminded of another boisterous and outspoken man who was able to say anything and never pay the consequences.

That man, who shall remain nameless, was able to ascend to his desired position on the strength of his words. Whether or not you believed them was another issue entirely, but you can’t deny they propelled him.

LaVar Ball is doing the same thing, and he’s even dragging other NBA players into the discussion. He’s basically using their Twitter accounts to help promote his brand.

Prior to a game earlier this week, Ball said the Lakers wouldn’t lose again this week, which included a game against one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams, the Washington Wizards.

This caused Wizards center, Marcin Gortat, to take to Twitter (like all sports feuds today) and say his teammate, John Wall, would hound Ball for the entire game, making his life uncomfortable for 48 minutes.

Guess what?

The Lakers won, just like Ball said they would. It doesn’t matter if the Lakers lose their next game. What Ball said has come true so far, and he’ll make sure we know it.

By taking the matter to Twitter, the Wizards became de facto influencers for his son and, by extension, the Big Baller Brand.

Marketing 101 says you need to get people talking about your product, even if it’s in a roundabout sort of way.

 

Whether you like it or not, LaVar’s sons and his Big Baller Brand are being talked about at the highest levels of the sport, and it’s all because of the way LaVar has marketed the trio: obnoxiously.

But to him, it probably doesn’t matter how he does it, as long as there is buzz.

To him, mission accomplished.

The Memphis Grizzlies Want To Change The Game

grindcity

In sports, local media is notorious for being tough on the home team.

Even when the going is good, the sky still threatens to fall at any moment, and certain journalists can’t help themselves when it comes to riling up the fan base. (Please see: Lions, Detroit)

After all, what better way to drive eyeballs to your content then by spurring fans to hate-click?

If you own a professional sports team, what’s the easiest way to battle the negative members of the media who threaten to enlist apathy from your fans?

You invest money in your very own content creation hub.

That’s what the Memphis Grizzlies did ten days ago when they announced Grind City Media, an in-house media brand that serves to give unprecedented coverage to “the NBA’s most passionate hoops town.”

[Editor’s Note: Most passionate hoops town? I see the spin has begun.]

It’s not a terrible idea.

The Grizzlies, who hired a respected member of the basketball media to run the site, stand to lose nothing. If anything, they’re going to gain something: more trust from their fans about the product they put on the court by giving them better access to that product they love.

Why agree to a feature in The Commercial Appeal if your own team can create something born out of unlimited access to the player?

With trust in the media at an all-time low, now is actually a really good time to take a chance on creating your own content. At least there are no bones to be had about where your allegiance lies.

Major non-sports brands are already doing this. Marriott and PepsiCo are just a few, with others sure to follow suit.

And who knows – maybe future player contracts will contain stipulations that require the player to participate in a set number of interviews for the content hub. It’s not totally out there.

If you’re a fan, you’re going to get unprecedented behind-the-scenes access; so much behind-the-scenes stuff that your eyeballs will barely be able to withstand the onslaught.

But you’re also getting sugar-coated content without a hint of addressing negativity or controversy.

Angry at the coach for not giving Tony Allen enough minutes? You’re not going to read about that at Grind City media.

But if you’re lucky, you’ll get to read about how David Fizdale’s upbringing led him to a life in the NBA, if that’s your thing.