Posts tagged with "NBPA"

LaMelo Ball illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 magazine

LaMelo Ball Joins PUMA

By Justin Lyons

LaMelo Ball, top 2020 NBA Draft prospect and younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, signed with the sports company PUMA for a long-term sponsorship deal.

Ball said he’s excited to join the PUMA family as he kicks off his basketball career.

“I believe the brand is the perfect partner for me because PUMA will allow me to just be myself. I want to be 100-percent authentic whether that’s playing basketball or showing off my personal style, and that’s what I want to do with PUMA,” Ball said.

The 6-foot-7-inch guard with elite passing skills opted out of college basketball in favor of professional contracts in Lithuania and Australia.

Adam Petrick, the global director of brand and marketing at PUMA, said Ball is a natural fit for PUMA because of his personal style and his “physical gifts and dynamic play on the court.”

“We are thrilled to add him to our roster of talented athletes, and at just 19 years old, we can’t wait to see his impact on the broader culture surrounding basketball,” Petrick said.

The first collaboration between the young phenom and PUMA will come in the form of a PUMA x LaMelo Ball T-shirt and hoodie set. The set will release Nov. 18, the same day as the 2020 NBA Draft where Ball is expected to go in the top five.

PUMA also intends to blur lines between sports, culture, music and fashion with its approach to the collaboration with Ball, which will likely be seen in the form of shirts, shoes and other apparel.

The partnership will follow PUMA’s “Not From Here” concept, something Ball cooked up himself to represent his unique attitude.

“I don’t know what normal is. I personally chose a different path to achieve my success because that defines who I am,” Ball said. “I know some people think I am mysterious or ‘not from here,’ and I might have to agree. I am someone who likes to be different and consider myself to be one of one. That’s the message I want to share in my upcoming projects with PUMA.”

Ball and PUMA will also join forces to host basketball camps, clothing donations, court refurbishments and more to support programs that encourage young athletes stay active.

With names like RJ Barrett, Kyle Kuzma and Deandre Ayton highlighting the list, Ball is the latest in a line of young talent to join PUMA.

In Ball’s 2019-2020 season as a member of the Illawarra Hawks, he played just 12 games before injuring himself during practice and deciding to leave for the NBA Draft. He averaged 17 points, 6.8 assists and 7.6 rebounds per game.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft after winning the NBA Draft Lottery. The Timberwolves had a 14% chance at landing the first pick, tied for the best odds with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, the team holding the worst record in the league.

With the Timberwolves trading for star guard D’Angelo Russell last season, mock drafts appear to have Minnesota targeting Anthony Edwards, the wing player out of Georgia.

Without a consensus first pick, there is also speculation that Minnesota could trade out of the first pick, opening an opportunity for a team looking for a point guard with passing abilities like Ball’s.

It all remains to be seen the night of the Draft Nov. 18, where one thing is for sure: LaMelo Ball’s name will be called.

Kaelen Felix Illustrated a Basketball Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Lakers Win 2020 NBA Finals

By Justin Lyons

The Los Angeles Lakers topped the Miami Heat Sunday night by a score of 106 to 93 to win the 2020 NBA Finals.

LeBron James recorded a triple-double, dropping 28 points with 14 rebounds and ten assists, en route to his fourth career NBA title. It is his first with the Lakers, who are now tied with the Boston Celtics for the most championships as a franchise with 17 wins.

Though ratings for NBA Finals games were lower than in previous years, this brings closure to a successfully executed bubble from Commissioner Adam Silver. With players spending months quarantined in Orlando and no fans in attendance, the NBA was still able to complete its season despite a pandemic and a boycott for social justice.

James was awarded the The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award for the fourth time in his career, but basketball’s king had some help from his royal attendants. Anthony Davis scored 19 points and had 15 rebounds while the 34-year-old Rajon Rondo had arguably his best game in the bubble making eight of his 11 shots and scoring 19 points.

This obviously strengthens James’ argument as the greatest basketball player in history. Michael Jordan won six NBA titles and six NBA Finals MVP Awards, but with James on the books for two more years with the Lakers and Davis for another year and potentially more, the Lakers will look to compete in and lengthen the “LeBron James era.”

While accepting the Finals MVP Award, James said, “We just want our respect. Rob wants his respect. Coach Vogel wants his respect. Our organization wants their respect. Laker Nation wants their respect. And I want my damn respect, too.”

Well, if the perspective of fans and journalists means anything to James, it seems as though levels of respect towards him rose last night.

James hugged Davis while holding the MVP trophy and thanked Davis in his speech.

James called working with Davis “easy,” saying, “We want the best from each other every single day, both on and off the floor. To be able to put him where he is today, that means so much to me, and the fact that he trusts me means even more.”

Finally, he spoke about the NBA’s impact on social change while in the bubble.

“You hear Golden State always use the phrase ‘strength in numbers,’ and that’s exactly what it was. As the NBA, the NBPA, all of our players, everybody had a voice on what’s going on in America. We know we all want to see better days, and when we leave here we know we’ve got to continue to push that,” James said.

The loss in the finals comes in heart-breaking fashion for the Miami Heat, as three of their stars played most of the series at less than full health. Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo all faced injuries at some point in the Finals.

There are positives for the Heat, as Butler cemented himself as a player teams vying for a championship will want. Luckily for the Heat, Butler has three more years left in his deal with Miami.

20-year-old rookie Tyler Herro also garnered national attention with his offensive ability. He put an exclamation point on his playoff performance with 37 points in the fourth game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

There is no official opening date scheduled for the next basketball season, but Adam Silver said it is likely to begin in 2021.