The comeback of Hollywood is happening right in front of our eyes. LA’s social media myths meshed with truth. The mass marketing of legends way before their time. The bright lights of the Lakers, now run by the greatest Laker of all, Magic Johnson, also a pert-owner of the MLB Dodgers who have gone 30-4 in their last 34 games. He’s one of the shrewdest marketing geniuses, salesman and businessman in the world of entertainment.
The marketing maven and mighty mouth LaVar Ball stands on his soap box and strategically pontificates on everything from the absurd to the unfathomable to the incredible. The Lakers and the Ball family have dominated the headlines for some months now and Magic Johnson has comfortably transitioned into the mix as Ball’s biggest fan.
Magic Johnson says Lonzo Ball will attract free agents to the Lakers because the rookie point guard is an ideal teammate. Ball was named the MVP of the Las Vegas summer league for the champion Lakers. (July 18, 2017)
Together, they are truly one of the greatest compilation of African-American marketing minds that the NBA has seen. On one end, you have Magic, a man as credible as they come. His basketball acumen is infallible. When he talks, people listen and take it as law. Magic recently called Lonzo one of the great ones and predicts him to dominate the league with triple doubles.
FS1’s Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe debated the merits of this statement on Undisputed. Lonzo remains a hot topic on the LA-based show and Bayless is drinking the Magic Maid heavy.
Next 2 or 3 years, Lonzo Ball will average a triple-double the way Westbrook did.” – @RealSkipBayless https://t.co/04jN0Km6oH
The marketing machine is working overtime. Ball was just named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League after averaging 16.3 points, a summer league-leading 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Hes already getting Michael Jordan props after playing just a few summer games, while trying to cash out on a major sneaker deal.
Now the real work begins. He hasnt gone head up with Damian Lillard, Steph Curry, Kemba Walker, James Harden or John Wall yet. The list of prolific NBA guards is longer than – in the words of legendary Phife Dawg – a DC-20 Aircraft.
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We thought LaVar was over the top when it came to his premature praise of Lonzo, but Magic is the hype master for Zo right now. He called him the “face of the franchise.” Hes trying to bring back that excitement for Lakers basketball that dissipated once Kobe left and the rebuild began. I just dont think its fair for him and its kind of unprofessional to predict all of these superhuman feats for Lonzo and create this idea that the boy has made it already.
We get that Magic was brought in to rejuvenate and revive the franchise, bring some respectability back and move them forward into the future with a new band of stars that will conjure memories of Magics own Showtime Dynasty Lakers squads. The hype train has to slow down a bit though. Magics doing nothing but feeding opposing players hunger to shut Lonzo down. He doesnt need to provide an edge for his competitors.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
LaVar cashed out on that approach, selling and exploding his Big Baller empire simply by predicting greatness for his sons, saying outlandish things and possessing a cunning, strong-armed business sense.
That was the easy part. People buy into the hype and salesmen feed into it. The great equalizer will be the grueling 82-game NBA season and the lack of a veteran star on the Lakers to help the young guys along, which will create myriad problems for Lonzo as he gets his feet wet against the best competition hes ever faced.
Lonzo Ball became a brand before he became a man. At this point, however, its almost time for the get down and its time to let Lonzo sell himself on the NBA hardwood.