Are the recently announced Lonzo Ball sneakers good for sneaker culture. It’s too soon to say, really. There are many different angles one could take in making the assessment.
On one hand, you have to applaud the Ball family for their entrepreneurial spirit. There is something to be said for the fact that they aren’t going to allow someone else to profit off of their name and likeness.
“When Sidney Frank created Grey Goose, their marketing plan was ‘let’s sell it with a frosted bottle and have double the price point of other vodkas.’ It was not winning awards as the best tasting vodka. It had no history as a great vodka. Nobody really knew who Sidney Frank was, and instead of $19 for a fifth of vodka, it was $34, almost double the average price. And that is the story of Grey Goose,” Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd said
“It had no history, like Lonzo Ball’s shoes, but the marketing plan was ‘if it costs twice as much, like my BMW, it must be better. It must be.'”
But, the sneaker industry is already heavily saturated as it is. The market isn’t just Nike and Adidas anymore. Your now competing with Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, BrandBlack, Anta, Li-Ning, and those are just the brands prominent in the National Basketball association.
Not only that, but you need to take a look at things off the court as well. Performance basketball sneakers aren’t selling as well as they did in the 1990’s, and even as well as did they did a few short years ago. The current aesthetic that is driving the market can be best described as leaning more lifestyle than performance.
Don’t believe me?
Next time you visit your local mall, take a look around. Most of the Zo2’s target audience will be wearing adidas Ultraboost, Yeezy Boost 350, or a pair of Air Jordan 1s.
With that being said, you’re going to tell me that LaVar Ball is now going to market a $500 sneaker that carries the name of a 19-year-old that hasn’t played a professional game yet? Do you not realize who your target audience is and how they are possibly going to afford that price point.
Basketball fans of all ages will admit that Lonzo Ball certainly has game on the court, but nobody older than 20 years old is about to humble themselves in to wearing the shoes of a teenager.
Fans have ego’s too.
What parent, in their right mind will just happily fork over hundreds of dollars when you don’t even stand by your product enough to have s refund policy.
“$495, I wouldn’t pay that personally,” 17-year-old Enoc Ferreiras told CBS2 New York.
“My parents would kill me if I paid that much. They’d think I’m crazy.”
I applaud your marketing tactics Mr. Ball, but this whole concept is asinine. You have gotten thousands of dollars in free advertising and still managed to blow a golden opportunity. For every analyst and commentator who is applauding the move, there are just as many who are critical.
You say Michael Jordan couldn’t charge 495 for a shoe because he isn’t Lonzo Ball. You’re right, Jordan is only the greatest player to ever play the game. While Air Jordans might not retail at 495, many can fetch that amount and greater on the resale market.
“The sneaker game is quite interesting because people can pay up to $1,500 to $2,000 on the resale market,” head buyer from the boutique streetwear shop Extra Butter Jude Sainjour told CBS2 New York.
“You don’t get what you want,” he said. “You get what you demand, so you set the bar high and see what the market dictates.”
You say you don’t want these companies pocketing off the Ball name. While that is certainly understandable, you are still putting money in their pockets. You claim to be better than Jordan, yet I see Lonzo wearing Jordan’s.
Even you can admit, the optics there are not ideal.
[Featured Image by Mark J. Terrill/AP Images]