Don’t get caught up in the hype that LaVar Ball and Big Baller Brand have racked up millions of dollars in sales of Lonzo Ball’s signature shoe. Even at $495 each.
The sneakerheads at Nice Kicks did some legwork to refute the rumors that Ball’s ZO2 Prime had sold 5,000 pairs in as little as four hours after its initial release. Like most internet rumors, that turned out to be bunk. Matt Halfhill over at Nice Kicks explained in a post how they figured out the number is much, much lower.
Basically, Halfhill ordered a pair a few hours before Chad Johnson ordered a pair and posted his confirmation email on social media. By Halfhill’s count, just 34 total transactions on the entire Big Baller Brand site had occured between those two orders, and that could have been for shirts, hats, and anything else there that isn’t a pair of very expensive shoes.
When another Nice Kicks staffer ordered a pair of shorts the next day, the transaction number simply didn’t account for thousands of shoe orders—there were just 328 individual purchases.
Out of the 328 transactions that happened on BigBallerBrand.com in the first 24 hours that the shoes were offered for sale, we tracked that a total of just 263 pairs of sneakers had sold in both signed and unsigned versions of the ZO2 Prime.
While we have no access to sales receipts, transactions or traffic data, we have been monitoring the inventory levels of the footwear listed on BigBallerBrand.com. After noting the initial product levels at the start and deducting the current units sold, we can confidently say that 210 pairs of unsigned ZO2 Primes had sold (103 pairs in size 8.5 alone), along with 53 autographed ZO2 Primes.
While it’s tough to confirm anything here from a secondary source and incredibly unlikely the Balls are going to talk down rumors of big sales, the logic used by Nice Kicks here makes sense. And then there’s the big sales numbers that don’t match the actual sales thus far.
Not accounting for shipping or sales tax (that doesn’t appear to be properly applied to transactions anyways), the total revenue for footwear in the first 24 hours was $157,685, based on the numbers sold for signed, unsigned, and the larger sizes that are priced at an extra $200.
While $157,685 is an incredible amount of sales in one day, it is far from the $2.5 million that numerous outlets have reported today online.
It’s an interesting look at the reality of the shoe business, an industry the Balls are now going it alone in. Though opting not to sign with a major shoe company is clearly not a decision to take lightly, the Balls seemed forced to do so. Talks with Nike blew up and the pursuit of growing Big Baller Brand as a whole was sidetracked by talk of top tier price points. LaVar Ball wanted to package his three sons into a single billion-dollar shoe contract, and the companies that dominate the industry wanted nothing to do with it.
While the initial release on Thursday created a huge amount of Internet buzz—both good and bad—it didn’t immediately translate into massive sales. Like Stephon Marbury warned, it’s very difficult to grow a brand on your own. It’s easy to LaVar Ball to get people talking about him, his sons and their very expensive shoes, but actually convincing people to buy them takes a lot more than calling them “premium” and walking away.