Written By: Austin Philippi
No matter if your young or old, rich or poor, and black or white you most likely have an opinion of the outspoken father. Wither your opinion is right or not is only up for you to decide, however Lavar is providing a unique opportunity to young men and athletes who not only wouldn’t have had the chance but just needed some added motivation or recognition to put forth all the time needed to become a professional basketball player. This is where the NCAA and the JBA have major parting issues, the NCAA believes an education that doesn’t cost them anything they can give away for free to a handful of players and that makes up for the billions of dollars they get to profit of “amateurs”. To somehow protect players and their careers, colleges instead end up exploiting those few athletes who are exceptionally gifted. The ones who aren’t and will end up needing their degree most of the time are the students that are walk-ons having to pay tuition at a university they also sacrifice for.
Lavar Ball isn’t just paying the best players on each team and providing exposure and the opportunity to the other players on the roster. He is offering players 3-10K a piece per month, plus 60% of jersey profits, and the rights to sell and market your name. This isn’t even including the basics he is providing that almost all Universities do as well, like a Diet plan, 3 meals a day, a workout regimen, and pays for housing during the season. Granted they have some of the best coaches and programs in the history of basketball and I’m not going to discredit the quality of basketball being played. However, what they can’t do is be unique. In the NCAA you have thousands of schools and yet sometimes the talent still goes to a handful of Universities, and yet you find older experienced teams usually knock out the talent in the tournament (I.E. Kentucky). That is how Lavar and the JBA with a talent influx in the next few seasons could be better than the NCAA. If they can eventually get 120-160 of the top 300 players in every class attempt to join the JBA the quality of basketball we’d see on a nightly basis would be far more entertaining than college basketball (excluding March Madness).
The NCAA provides a more direct line to the pros currently as it is established, and the NBA works closely with the NCAA at times regarding some of their rules and amateur status. They also have larger built in Fan bases, as many Universities give up to half their arena away for free to students. This may seem like it matters, and while for the business side your attendance will need to grow for this league to continue to gain traction amongst new up and coming players. However, with Lavar’s global brand and presence he gives these kids a bigger stage than most Universities have. Excluding a few Nationally Televised games, March Madness, and some Marquee Basketball Programs Lavar’s league has way more viewers than any of these Universities will ever have. Averaging 300K Views on 8 games played into the inaugural season (with a high of 820K views, and a low of 50K views) To put this in perspective the NCAA averages just over 200,000 views for a national Televised game. The bigger Universities and programs can draw millions during some of their schedule. However, most of colleges and the NCAA doesn’t get nearly that sort of viewership, as Colleges Like Fresno State average around 150K viewers. The top College Regular season game in history was logged at over 3.4 million views.
To put it in additional perspective some of the Top JBA games have outperformed some of the worst NBA games of the year. Which is a worthy comparison as the JBA is just starting and is supposed to act as a feeder league for the NBA. The live audience has been underwhelming thus far, but that was the case for the first season of the actual NBA as well. This will take some time to grow but one thing that is for sure based off the numbers, the more top-level athletes Lavar gets in the JBA the bigger this stage will grow. He already has a huge global platform for these kids to play and show off their skills, and while people are going to find any number of reasons to hate on this man or the opportunity he is providing. Those in the JBA getting to know him more everyday have a different take “I love the man, always have but I’ve only gained more love for him, no hate coming from this way”. Said Jerrell Springer of the Seattle Ballers.
Getting the chance to be a part of history is also something I discussed with both Jerrell Springer and Curtis Hollis. Springer stating, “most nights it’s hard to go to sleep, because I’m so excited about the opportunity I have and just to get up each morning and be playing basketball as part of the JBA”. Hollis saying later that night, “I feel there is a lot of eyes on it, and it’s a great opportunity for me”. Neither athlete said they viewed the weight of history as additional pressure. Both however are excited about their opportunities to play in the JBA let alone as captains of their respective teams they’ve shown the natural ability and tools to really excel at this level and maybe even the next. Being a part of history is obviously meaningful to both young men on their respective journeys in professional basketball.
This is just the begging says Lavar and his business associate Alan. “3-5 years, this is going to be big we move fast”. With this kind of enthusiasm and desire to produce a quality basketball opportunity and experience for these young men to have a chance to show what their capable of. This will not only help the business opportunities of the JBA but all the players who choose to play in the league. As you’ll have the ability to make money off your name and market yourself accordingly and own the rights to your name without being blackballed by an industry for selling autographs or taking a new car as a gift. This opportunity is training the kids first hand on how they should be living, eating, and working like they are a pro if they want to become one. You’ll see a ton of stuff over the JBA over the next few years and a ton of media outlets will try to tear them down, when they are doing nothing but providing and opportunity to young men who may not have had other opportunities or just didn’t think school was their best option. This League has a bright future despite the lackluster turnout most nights in the arena, the audience at home is growing and based on what we’ve seen the last 4 games the league is going to be very competitive and a lot of fun to watch as they put more fans in the seats