Ball has served as the face of his own Big Baller Brand apparel company since entering the league last season. But on Saturday, hours after announcing he was severing ties with company co-founder Alan Foster over $1.5 million in missing funds, the Los Angeles Lakers point guard hinted on Instagram that he would be joining Nike.
The Oregon-based sports apparel giant has myriad basketball superstars under contract and none more high-profile than James, Ball's Lakers teammate. Though no official partnership has been announced, James says he would be happy to join forces with Lonzo at Nike.
"Whatever the kid decides to do, whatever brand he comes with next - if it's with Nike, obviously we would welcome him," James told The Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli. "I would definitely welcome him. I love the kid regardless of what shoes he had on. But we shall see."
A report Monday indicated the Ball family has discussed folding Big Baller Brand outright amid the allegations against Foster, who has previously been sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering. Ball said he had been unaware of Foster's criminal past until an interview with ESPN a few weeks ago.
Whatever the outcome, James is happy to see his teammate take charge of his business away from the hardwood.
"I love the fact that he's taking control of his (stuff)," James said. "That's what's really, really dope to me.
"Once I saw that story, I (had) just seen a kid turning into a man. 'This is my career and I'm taking this. ... I done had enough. If I'm not going to be successful, I'm not going to be successful on my terms.'"
The 21-year-old Ball still owns a majority 51-percent stake in Big Baller Brand. His father, LaVar, owns 16.4 percent of the company while Foster owns 16.3 percent.
Nike announced in 2015 it had signed James to an unprecedented lifetime contract reportedly worth $1 billion. He signed his first contract with the company in 2003 before the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him first overall.