The sneakerheads at Nice Kicks did some legwork to refute the rumors that Ball’s ZO2 Prime had sold 5,000 pairs in as little as four hours after its initial release. Like most internet rumors, that turned out to be bunk.
It’s an interesting look at the reality of the shoe business, an industry the Balls are now going it alone in. Though opting not to sign with a major shoe company is clearly not a decision to take lightly, the Balls seemed forced to do so. Talks with Nike blew up and the pursuit of growing Big Baller Brand as a whole was sidetracked by talk of top tier price points. LaVar Ball wanted to package his three sons into a single billion-dollar shoe contract, and the companies that dominate the industry wanted nothing to do with it.
While the initial release created a huge amount of Internet buzz—both good and bad—it didn’t immediately translate into massive sales. Like Stephon Marbury warned, it’s very difficult to grow a brand on your own. It’s easy to LaVar Ball to get people talking about him, his sons and their very expensive shoes, but actually convincing people to buy them takes a lot more than calling them “premium” and walking away.