LaMelo Ball has set himself up to be a top pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Ball took a unique route to get to where he is today. After his high school career at Spire Institute, he took his talents overseas to play professionally in Australia.
Ball played one season for the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League. It was announced today that Ball and his manager plan to buy the team and become owners. Ball would go from playing for a team to owning them.
LaMelo’s career with the Illawarra Hawks
Ball signed a two-year contract with the team in July of 2019. When word got out that Ball was going to play in the NBL, that drew a lot of fans to their basketball games. In his first game on October 6, he finished with 12 points and 10 assists.
Ball continued to get better as the season went on. He had a career-high 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists in November during an overtime win. He became the youngest NBL player to record a triple-double. The next game he recorded another triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists in a loss. Ball was the fourth player in league history to record consecutive triple-doubles.
As the season progressed, Ball’s NBA stock continued to rise. He was one of the league’s most dominant players and one of the youngest players as well. He put himself in a good position when the draft gets here. ESPN has him as the No. 2-ranked draft prospect, and he could possibly be the No. 1 pick.
LaMelo and his manager could potentially own a team
Ball’s manager, Jermaine Jackson, developed a close relationship with Ball when he was a senior in high school. Jackson was his head coach at Spire and moved to Australia with him to become his manager. When news broke that Jackson and Ball purchased the team, Jackson said, “We own the team. It’s a done deal.”
In an ESPN article, the Australian NBL said it was working with Simon Stratford, the current license holder of the team, on a number of options. So it is not set in stone yet for Ball and Jackson. For Ball to be an owner of a team would be a big move for the 18-year-old.
How the thought of owning a team came about
Ball enjoyed his time playing in Australia and with his team. In a Bleacher Report article, Jackson talked about how the idea of owning the team came about. “Melo loves the Illawarra fans, he loves the community, and they opened their arms to him,” Jackson said. “When we started hearing about the issues they were going through, we talked about it and decided let’s own the team.”
There has not been a timetable on a final decision about owning the team for Ball and Jackson. But if it does end up happening, Ball will go into the 2020-21 NBA season as an owner of a professional basketball team, and he won’t even be 21 yet. Not too many people can say they are doing that at that age.