Earlier on Thursday, we learned that Lonzo Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo, is getting a Big Baller Brand signature shoe of his own. The ‘Melo Ball 1 shoes are available now for the cost of a cool $395. Of course, LaMelo is only 16 years old, so his shoe release has started to raise questions regarding his potential eligibility to play college ball in a couple of years.
When asked whether he is concerned that the shoes could make LaMelo ineligible to play collegiately, his father, LaVar, essentially said that he doesn’t care (via ESPN):
“We’ll worry about it when we get there. Who cares? If he can’t play, then he can’t play. It doesn’t mean he’ll stop working out and getting better.”
Fortunately for LaMelo, it appears as though this is not in violation of the NCAA’s eligibility rules. One of the NCAA’s bylaws reads as follows (via CBS Sports):
“You are not eligible for any sport if, after collegiate enrollment, you accept any pay for promoting a commercial product or service or allow your name or picture to be used for promoting a commercial product or service.”
Because LaMelo has not yet enrolled in college, it sounds as though he’s in the clear. That rule also explains why the middle Ball son, LiAngelo, hasn’t released a shoe of his own. LiAngelo has already enrolled at UCLA and will suit up for the Bruins this winter.
LaVar added that there are plans for LiAngelo to get a shoe of his own once his time is up at UCLA:
“Gelo will be next, but right now he’s handcuffed by UCLA. He’d be ineligible if we put out a shoe with him. … He won’t be ineligible in April. That’s when he’ll have his own shoe.”
LaMelo is set to begin his junior season at Chino Hills.