playLaMelo Ball shows off a creative dunk you have to see to believe (0:19)LaMelo Ball goes between his legs and bounces the ball up high behind his back and off the backboard for a dunk. (0:19)11:54 AM ETNick DePaulaESPN In advance of the 2020 NBA draft, top prospect LaMelo Ball has signed a multiyear shoe deal with Puma, immediately becoming a key face of the brand at just 19 years old.
“I am really excited to be joining the Puma family,” Ball said. “I believe the brand is the perfect partner for me because Puma will allow me to just be myself. I want to be 100 percent authentic, whether that’s playing basketball or showing off my personal style, and that’s what I want to do with Puma.”Unlike basketball phenoms entering this fall’s NBA draft after playing as amateurs at the NCAA level, Ball has already been a featured endorser for a company. At 16, he launched his own “MB1” signature shoe with his family’s Big Baller Brand before playing professionally in Lithuania and Australia.The signing likely marks an end to BBB’s prospects as a footwear company, with youngest son LaMelo and older brother Lonzo now moving on. Lonzo, who remains a sneaker free agent, recently switched agent representation and will now begin the process of landing his own footwear endorsement deal.The first product capsule with Puma for LaMelo Ball, dubbed “the most talented prospect” in the upcoming draft by ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz, will release on Nov. 18 to coincide with the draft, which is usually held in June.At 6-foot-7, Ball has shown a penchant for passing and playmaking on the floor, while growing his social media following to over 5.6 million on Instagram, where he often highlights his off-court style. Athletic brands have circled him for several years as the most marketable player in his class.”LaMelo’s physical gifts and dynamic play on the court, as well as his unique sense of personal style, make him a natural fit for Puma,” said Adam Petrick, the company’s global director of brand and marketing. “We are thrilled to add him to our roster of talented athletes, and at just 19 years old, we can’t wait to see his impact on the broader culture surrounding basketball.”As Puma continues its push into basketball after relaunching its hoops category in 2018 after a nearly 20-year hiatus, Ball will join a growing list of Puma endorsers in the NBA. The company also features deals with last year’s No. 3 draft pick, RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks; Denver Nuggets forward and bubble standout Michael Porter Jr.; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma; and nearly a dozen others.