The Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the second pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. By that time, fans were just as well acquainted with Ball’s father LaVar as they were with the point guard phenom. LaVar used his outsize media presence to aggressively promote his shoe and sportswear brand, Big Baller Brand, also known as BBB.
From the way LaVar Ball portrayed it, BBB would soon rival Nike and Adidas in terms of sales. This never came to pass, and Big Baller Brand faded from headlines. The only exception: a scandal involving Alan Foster, one of BBB’s partners. Here’s everything you need to know about Foster, his relationship with the Ball family, and the pending lawsuits.
Who is Alan Foster?
Foster’s relationship with the Ball family goes back to at least 2010. Lonzo Ball and Foster’s son struck up a friendship as seventh graders. Foster and LaVar Ball soon hit it off as well. Even as late as 2017, LaVar Ball also said of Foster, “This dude is one of the smartest suckers ever.”
Soon the two men founded Big Baller Brand together. According to LaVar, Foster first came up with the idea. Moreover, Foster soon took over as business manager for all of the companies owned by the Ball family. According to ESPN, Foster’s share of BBB came to 16.3%.
Unfortunately, the Ball family never knew about Foster’s secret past. Long before he met the Balls, he was sentenced to 87 months in prison for his role in a financial Ponzi scheme where he stole almost $4 million from 75 different investors. Foster was released after serving five years of his sentence but later returned to prison for five months for violating the terms of his parole.
In March 2019, news broke that the Ball family broke their ties with Foster. They believed that he embezzled $1.5 million dollars from BBB as well as Lonzo’s personal accounts. This missing money first came to light courtesy of Lonzo’s financial adviser, Humble Lukanga. Lukanga found that $1.5 million was withdrawn in cash, almost certainly by Foster.
Lawsuits and counter lawsuits
In addition to cutting ties with Alan Foster, the Balls opened a legal suit against Foster in April 2019. Not only did the lawsuit detail Foster’s likely crime, but it also stated Foster “threatened to expose the Ball family with false information to the public.” The Balls seemed more than willing to fight for their money in court.
Foster responded in October 2019 by filing a countersuit. In it, he accuses LaVar of embezzling in excess of $2.6 million from BBB and other Ball family businesses. Around the same time, Foster created a YouTube video where he delivered what he claimed was inside info about Lonzo’s health and other aspects of the Ball family.
The future of Big Baller Brand
Another odd twist in the saga involved the BBB website. Even after Alan Foster was excommunicated, he apparently still owned the rights to the site. Soon, he took down the original content and replaced it with a personal site. Specifically, Foster used the Big Baller Brand website to promote his infomercial providing business advice.
Many speculated that BBB would not survive the crisis prompted by Foster’s actions. LaVar, however, remained adamant that BBB would live on. A retooled site appeared with a new URL: bigballerbrandinc.com. Nonetheless, the writing seems to be on the wall for Big Baller Brand. Lonzo even distanced himself from the company by covering up his BBB tattoo with a pair of dice.