*LaVar Ball said Wednesday that he’s starting a basketball league for nationally ranked players who have graduated from high school but have no desire to attend college.
Ball said his Junior Basketball Association will be fully funded by his Big Baller Brand, and he plans to pay the lowest-ranked player a salary of $3,000 a month and the best player $10,000 a month, according to ESPN.
Ball is currently searching for 80 players to fill 10 teams that he aims to put in competition 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.”
Venues and ticket prices have yet to be 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.
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 Sports Business 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.
The logo for the league features a silhouette of son Lonzo, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, going to the hoop for a dunk.
“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.”