In December, LaVar Ball and Big Baller Brand teased the start of the Junior Basketball Association, a hoops league for top athletes graduating high school and looking for a paid alternative to NCAA College Basketball. LaVar now is making that vision a reality with the league expected to launch this summer.
The idea of the league received praise from many in the sports world. The NCAA has for years been under intense criticism for making billions of dollars from Division One student athletes, especially during March Madness where there are no shortage of sponsors for the games.
Some have argued that top college athletes should be paid since they are essentially full-time athletes, to which the counter-argument is that the title “student-athlete” makes them students first and grants these players a full scholarship in exchange for their talents. Former college athletes have complained about losing their scholarships to injuries, and nearly impossible to manage schedules.
“The Game will be Forever Changed,” reads the caption on the Big Baller Brand Instagram post.
Yes indeed, Junior Basketball Association is supposed to be a game-changer. JBA will pay their amateur athletes to compete, with an opportunity to later turn pro if they wish to. The Ball family father announced this idea publicly after pulling his two younger sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, from school to move to Lithuania to compete in international pro basketball.
Gelo was a freshman at UCLA, but after a shoplifting incident in China before the season was suspended indefinitely before leaving UCLA as a whole. Melo was a junior at Chino Hills High School, but LaVar pulled him out of school as well to home school him. The duo now play for BC Vytautus in Lithuania.
Lithuania has been good to the BBB CEO who earned an assistant coaching job for the team and even started a BBB Challenge Games series with Big Baller Brand sponsorships all over the Lithuanian basketball league.